You may know her as the blonde media liaison Jennifer Jareau (nicknamed JJ), on CBS’ Criminal Minds. Or you may know her from portraying one of the doomed sisters from the renowned 1999 film, The Virgin Suicides. Others may recognize her as the brunette with terrifying premonitions from Final Destination 2, or as street-wise, tough-as-nails Shelby Merrick from the 2000 TV show, Higher Ground. Some do not even recognize the actress at all because of her constantly changing appearance and the extremely versatile roles she has portrayed.
“I never liked to be pigeon holed, and I never liked people to think that they know who I am. I like to keep people guessing,” says Andrea Joy Cook, commonly known as AJ Cook, on the subject of what kind of roles she considers. Her filmography of both T.V. shows and movies range from horror to intellectual and even to comedy. She indeed has many people wondering what she’ll do next, and, considering the diverse filmography of this actress, it could be anything.
Andrea Joy Cook, nicknamed Dre to close friends and family, was born on July 22nd, 1978 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada to Mike and Sandra Cook. Mike is a teacher and Sandra is a psychiatrist. A.J. has three other siblings; Nathan, Paul and Angela. She is the second to youngest. Although born in Oshawa, she spent most of her life growing up in Whitby.
Before taking up acting, A.J. danced competitively in the styles of tap, jazz and ballet since the age of 4. Later in high school, she taught dance. She also performed in her high school plays, including Romeo & Juliet.
She went on at 17 years old to act in a MacDonald’s commercial. After that, the rest was history. Her first official acting job was in the 1997 film Laserhawk, although her first prominent movie role was her portrayal of Mary Lisbon in The Virgin Suicides.
In 2001 A.J. married long-time boyfriend Nathan Andersen, whom she had met in her college film class at Utah Valley University. On September 13th, 2008, A.J. gave birth to their first son, Mekhai Allan Andersen.
A.J. Cook is a devout Mormon, and a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
Currently, A.J. lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and son.
(Quote from IGN DVD interview, 2003)