Known worldwide for portraying the role of bookworm Rory Gilmore, actress Kimberly Alexis Bledel was born on September 16th, 1981 in the city of Houston, Texas, to Latin American parents (her mother is Mexican and his father of Argentine descent.) Bledel spent the first years of her life speaking Spanish, until she started school and had to learn English. Due to her timid nature, Alexis’ mother encouraged her to try acting to improve on her shyness, appearing in local productions such as The Wizard of Oz.
Bledel started modeling when she was around seventeen years old, after being scouted in a mall. Her professional acting career began in 2000, when Alexis was cast in the iconic role of Rory Gilmore opposite Lauren Graham in the WB’s Gilmore Girls, which had a seven-season run. Bledel made her big screen debut in a fantasy feature based on a book of the same name called Tuck Everlasting (2002). Her big film role to date perhaps is as one of the four friends that share one same pair of paints in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), also starring in the 2008 sequel. Bledel had a small role in 2005’s Sin City playing a professional prostitute, a stark contrast to her previous roles.
After Gilmore Girls had concluded, Alexis starred in two comedies in 2009, Post Grad and The Good Guy, which weren’t well received by the critics. That same year, Bledel had a guest star role in the final two-hour episode of long-running medical drama ER. She starred in three movies in 2010: Robert Redford’s historical drama The Conspirator; Canadian drama The Kate Logan Affair, based on a true story; and Violet & Daisy, a crime comedy-drama. The films were premiered in important film festivals but failed to make much of an impact.
In 2012, Alexis had a short theater run in production Regrets, staged at the New York City Center. That same year, Bledel had a three-episode appearance in Mad Men, where she would meet her future husband, actor Vincent Kartheiser. The following year, Alexis was cast opposite Jason Ritter in the American adaptation of British sitcom Gavin & Stacey. Although Fox picked up the pilot for a full first season, it was pushed back and later aired by a different network in 2018.
In 2016, Alexis also returned alongside the rest of the cast to star in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a four-part revival that proved that even a decade later the love for this show was very much alive. Bledel’s second most notable role to date came when she was cast as a supporting character in 2016’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the popular dystopian series based on Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name. Her role was expanded after the first season and she became a regular cast member until her departure from the show in 2021. Thanks to her character’s portrayal in the series, Bledel won her first Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.