What you never knew about Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is one of the most popular and talked-about shows on television, yet some of its stars still somehow manage to stay under the radar. Case in point: Lauren Cohan, who has played Maggie for five seasons. That's truly a feat considering the average life expectancy of the show's characters, but how much do you really know about her? Here are some fun things that most fans of The Walking Dead probably don't know about Lauren Cohan.

She grew up in England

If you've heard Lauren Cohan speak out of character, it's probably a bit jarring to discover she has an English accent, especially since even the most perfunctory Googling will tell you she was born in the good ol' U.S. of A. So what gives? Turns out that Cohan's mother is British, and when Lauren was 13, they moved back to the UK, where she spent the rest of her school days. Mystery solved!

She converted to Judaism as a child

Given that Cohan is traditionally a Jewish name, it's not that surprising to learn that Lauren Cohan is Jewish herself. But here's a twist: both the name and the religion are adopted, as Lauren changed her name and converted to Judaism at the age of 5 when her mother remarried into a Jewish family.

She co-founded a theater troupe while in college

As a youth, Cohan considered pursuing a career in child psychology, but that changed when she decided to attend the University of Winchester as a Drama major. In fact, while she was at the British university, she co-founded a theater troupe. "That experience is a big part of why I am doing this job," she told Venta magazine about her work on The Walking Dead. "After that, I found an agent and started auditioning."

Before getting her big break, she was a model and waitress

Cohan might be a big star now, but success didn't come immediately or easily for her. After she graduated from college, Cohan returned to America, moving to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a professional actress. At first, she ended up paying the bills by splitting her time between waitressing and modeling, bussing tables by night after shooting lingerie ads for Richard Branson's Virgin Clothing.

She made waves with a recurring role on 'Supernatural'

Cohan finally got her big break in 2005 with a role in the film Casanova, then followed it up the next year with a role in Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj. But it was her turn as Bela Talbot on Supernatural that first brought her to the widespread attention of television fans. An anti-hero who stole magical artifacts and sold them to the highest bidder, Bela proved to be wildly unpopular with fans, so after just six episodes, she was killed off. It just proves that fans are even deadlier than zombies.

She was briefly immortal on 'The Vampire Diaries'

It's no surprise that the producers of The Walking Dead approached Lauren for the role of Maggie given that she already had a reputation in the industry for playing strong women on horror shows. Case in point: after ending her run on Supernatural, Cohan landed a recurring role on The Vampire Diaries as Rose, an immortal vampire. Sadly, immortality isn't quite what it used to be, and after six episodes she was staked through the heart. Alas!

She was a villainous superspy on 'Chuck'

In 2011, Cohan took a break from the world of television horror and instead became a villainous superspy on Chuck. In the role of Vivian McArthur Volkoff, Cohan went full-on mustache twirler, hiring hitmen to assassinate Zachary Levi's lead character and even attempting to murder his fiancée out of revenge. That doesn't sound like sweet Maggie at all!

She almost missed out on 'Walking Dead' because she was committed to another show

It's one of those great might-have-beens: what if Cohan hadn't been able to do The Walking Dead because she was under contract to a different show? Well, that came very close to happening, because back in 2011, Cohan filmed a pilot for The CW called Heavenly, in which she played a lawyer who teamed up with an angel to… fight crime or something? It doesn't matter; despite her success with CW hits Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the network passed on Heavenly, freeing her up to do The Walking Dead instead.

She doesn't actually like horror

Perhaps the craziest thing about Cohan's career in television? Even though all of her most famous roles have come in horror stories, she isn't actually much of a fan of the genre. In fact, it scares her to death. "I have a very weak stomach for horror," she told Media Blvd. Magazine. "It's great, but it's something that you want to watch with a girlfriend or a friend because you can scream with somebody else." You don't have to tell that to Walking Dead fans.