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The Transformation Of Yvonne Strahovski From Dexter To Now

Yvonne Strahovski is a 38-year-old Australian actress who has made quite an impression on audiences since landing her first major role as CIA agent Sarah Walker on the comedy spy series "Chuck" opposite Zachary Levi in 2007. Her next-largest part came in 2012 when she was cast as Hannah McKay in the seventh and eighth seasons of the crime drama "Dexter," playing the love interest of the title character. With a career that spans 17 years, Strahovski has grown as an actress, tackling a variety of roles that show her range and also allow her to change her look on occasion. 

When asked how she got her start in acting during an event for NerdHQ, she said, "I was like the goofy kid with braces and bad skin, and I was really lanky when I was little and I was always goofing around in front of the home video camera." She's obviously come a long way since then.

She played Miranda in Mass Effect 2

In an interview with Collider, Yvonne Strahovski admitted she almost didn't move from Australia to America to pursue her acting dreams. "I had a terrible acne problem, and I used to always think, 'I can't go to the states with this acne problem because I'll never get a job," she said. She had already faced rejection in Australia due to the condition. But "a group of friends of mine convinced me to come with them, and it was only because of that. ... Ironically, for me, my face is my job. It's my tool. It's what I use predominantly in my craft. It's been an interesting journey."

In 2007, she landed the role that would propel her Hollywood career forward, playing the sexy neighbor of computer geek Chuck Bartowski (played by Zachary Levi) in "Chuck." The show ran for five seasons on NBC, during which time Strahovski was cast in a variety of projects. For example, gaming fans might not realize Strahovski is also the voice and physical inspiration for Miranda Lawson, the heroine of the popular BioWare video game "Mass Effect 2" from 2010. It was one of the actress's first roles after gaining fame from her role on "Chuck," and even though the character has dark hair, many of Miranda's physical features resemble Strahovski. She voiced the character again in "Mass Effect 3" in 2012.

She told G4 she wasn't a gamer herself, but she enjoyed the process of voice acting for the role. "I like that I have dark hair," she said of the character. "That's fun. My outfit is pretty cool. My body is disproportionate, but I think they do that in all video games for the females." 

She starred in Dexter in 2012

After "Chuck" was canceled in 2012, Yvonne Strahovski was cast in another popular series. In Season 7 of "Dexter," she made her debut as Hannah McKay in the Showtime series "Dexter," transitioning from playing a CIA agent to a serial killer. Her character was sent to juvenile detention at age 15 when her boyfriend was arrested for a killing spree. Later, she poisoned her husband and it is revealed she had killed others as well. Dexter, who initially intends to kill her, finds himself unable to do so, and the two became romantically involved. Eventually, Hannah was arrested but kept Dexter's secret, only to escape and reunite with him in the final season. 

While the role was a challenging one and one that divided fans of the show (via Reddit), Strahovski was able to play an appealing but conflicted killer, proving she could play either a heroine or villain. She told Vulture: "What she wanted from day one was a partner and a lover to help fulfill her dream of a simple life, to get away from all the attention she has from being known as a serial killer since the age of fifteen. That's why she does what she does. She kills those who get in her way of that life. And she feels incredibly lucky to have met Dexter; neither of them has to hide in front of the other. What are the odds of that happening?"

She became the female version of Jack Bauer

After landing large roles in movies such as "I, Frankenstein" and "The Guilt Trip," Yvonne Strahovski once again found herself cast on a popular TV series in 2014 when she joined "24: Live Another Day," a limited revival of the hit show starring Kiefer Sutherland as anti-terrorist operative Jack Bauer. In an interview with Blog Critics, she said she was attracted to the role because producers allowed her to make her character, Kate Morgan, more realistic by not focusing on her looks. As an ex-CIA agent assisting Bauer in taking down a terrorist organization, Kate was determined to make a difference after learning her husband had been covertly selling government secrets. Strahovski was adamant about wearing minimal makeup and realistic clothing instead of being "glammed up" for the part. She proved so popular with fans with many hoping she'd return for a spinoff show (via 24 Spoilers).

After "24: Live Another Day," the Australian actress starred in numerous movies, including the horror films "He's Out There" and "The Predator," but TV again kept her busy. She was cast in the failed drama series "The Astronaut Wives Club" before earning a role on another critically acclaimed and award-winning series.

She currently stars in The Handmaid's Tale

Since 2017, Yvonne Strahovski has played Serena Joy Waterford on the Emmy award-winning series "The Handmaid's Tale," which co-stars Elizabeth Moss. In the show, Strahovski plays Commander Waterford's wife who used a forced surrogate to conceive a child in a dystopian society. In four seasons, her character has evolved from a cruel and emotionless woman into one who has displayed compassion and grief. Bruce Miller, the show's executive producer, told The Los Angeles Times Strahovski's scenes are "the most remarkable piece of acting you'll ever see." Her portrayal earned her an Emmy nomination for supporting actress in 2018. She also starred in the 2020 Australian TV drama, "Stateless," which follows four strangers in an immigration detention center and co-stars Cate Blanchett.

Next up for Strahovski is a role in "The Tomorrow War" with Chris Pratt. According to EW, she'll play a brilliant scientist recruited by time travelers to jump 30 years into the future to help them fight extraterrestrial invaders. Set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on July 2, 2021, the movie also stars Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons.