Gia Carides had been acting in her native Australia for over a decade before she finally made the move to the U.S. Born in Sydney, Carides was cast in her first film at age 12. Throughout the 1980s, she acted in a number of Australian theater productions and Australian films, including Phar Lap (1983), the award-winning Bliss (1985), and Backlash (1986). With a supporting role in Baz Luhrmann's cult art house favorite Strictly Ballroom (1992), Carides scored her first international success. She co-starred opposite eventual husband Anthony LaPaglia in the Australian-made Paperback Romance (1994) and Brilliant Lies (1996). After she relocated to the United States in the mid-'90s, Carides acted in off-Broadway theater and won roles in several studio and independent films, including CIA drama Bad Company (1995) and erotic thriller Lifebreath (1997). Winning fans for her looks as well as her talent, Carides played the small yet crucial part of Gennifer Flowers-esque Cashmere McLeod in Mike Nichols' adaptation of political roman à clef Primary Colors (1998) and lent her sensual presence to the blockbuster Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) as Dr. Evil's seductive assassin Robin Swallows. Carides scored another, if far less expected, box office smash with her supporting role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). As writer-star Nia Vardalos's Cousin Nikki, Carides was a key figure in the comic Greek clan benevolently plaguing Vardalos and John Corbett's ethnically mismatched couple, helping to turn the modest indie romantic comedy into a record-breaking sleeper hit.