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She's not lost in a fog

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OAHU, Hawaii -- There are few things Maggie Grace likes less than talking about herself for an hour. The soft-spoken 22-year-old, who plays spoiled brat Shannon Rutherford on ABC's Lost, only begins to relax her body, unfold her arms off her chest and come out of her protective shell as she strolls through the tropical grounds of the oceanfront Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel, petting a dolphin along the way.

With her grown-up looks, it is easy to forget just how young she is. She is oblivious to a 75-year-old TV legend lunching nearby -- longtime Oahu resident Jim Nabors, aka Gomer Pyle. "I think I've heard of him," she shrugs.

"When we first met, I thought of her in an Amish costume," says her Lost love interest, Naveen Andrews (Sayid). "She has a special kind of grace -- no pun intended."

Grace was raised in Worthington, Ohio, with sister Marisa, now 13, and brother Ian, 18. Before her parents, Rick and Valinn, divorced, they ran a family jewelry business. Her mom supported her decision to test out of high school and relocate to Los Angeles at 16. Roles in independent films, TV movies and two forgettable Fox series -- 2002's never-aired Septuplets and 2004's short-lived Oliver Beene -- led to her life-changing audition for Lost.

She had much to celebrate in September 2004 at a rowdy party on Oahu to celebrate her 21st birthday and Lost's premiere. "There's a lot I can't remember, thanks to Josh (Holloway, who plays Sawyer) and Foxy's (Matthew Fox, Jack) tutelage," she says of her co-stars, with whom she has skinny-dipped on several occasions.

Off the set, Grace routinely socializes with Holloway and wife Yessica Kumula. Holloway says the actress isn't like her often-unpleasant character: "Maggie ain't got a (mean) bone in her, which is such a testament to her acting."

Though Grace recently began dating someone steadily (she declines to give a name), Holloway, a former model, once offered to help her select dates from a portfolio of models he worked with.

"I've grown up quite a bit on this show," she says. "It's the first time I've had this sort of camaraderie and trust with a group of people. That's been so important to me personally."

Grace is showing off another side of herself in The Fog, last weekend's No. 1 film. Like Lost, The Fog's horror takes place on a mysterious island, though this one is off the coast of Oregon. In the remake of the 1980 John Carpenter chiller about a ghostly mist that consumes a quiet seaside community, Grace plays Elizabeth, the role originally played by scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis.

After the horrors Shannon has survived on Lost (the plane crash, her brother's death, a ghostly image of young Walt), Grace is no stranger to acting terrified; the multiple screaming scenes for The Fog required no rehearsal. Says Grace with a smile, "I come well equipped."

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© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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