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From Hallmark Sweetheart to Special Ops — Get To Know Jill Wagner

Some faces were just made for the screen — one of those being North Carolina native, Jill Wagner. You may recognize her from your evening channel surfing, as she hosted ABC’s obstacle course competition show, Wipeout, from 2008 to 2014, or perhaps even from her role as the intense Kate Argent in MTV’s Teen Wolf. More recently, Jill Wagner movies and TV shows have expanded to include newly released spy thriller, Special Ops: Lioness on Paramount + as Bobby who along with Joe (Zoe Saldaña) takes on an undercover operation to take down a terrorist group from within.

However, in recent years, Jill Wagner has found a wonderful fanbase acting consistently in various projects on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Read on to get to know Jill a bit better.

Jill Wagner movies and TV shows

After attending North Carolina State University, Jill Wagner moved to California to make her mark in the entertainment industry. Her earliest roles were on MTV’s Punk’d, followed by Blade: The Series, Quintuplets and Bones.

Jill Wagner, 2004
2004Getty

It wasn’t until 2008 that she got her very first television hosting gig on the popular obstacle course competition series, Wipeout. She remained as the host up until 2011, when she decided to pursue acting once again, but returned in 2012.

During her break from Wipeout, Wagner took on one of her most popular roles as Kate Argent in the MTV teen supernatural series, Teen Wolf. Her character was a werewolf hunter and one of the major antagonists in the series.

Jill Wagner, 2011
MTV Teen Wolf premier, 2011

In an interview with The List, Wagner said, “I remember my grandmother, one day we were sitting in her living room and we were talking about my career, different things that I’ve done, and she made a comment. She said, ‘I just don’t understand it, Jill. I don’t understand why you always have to play the bad one because people don’t understand you’re good.’ And I laughed at that because I always told my grandmother, I said, ‘Grandma, it’s actually fun to play the villain.’ It’s fun sometimes to play the bad girl.”

Other Jill Wagner movies and TV shows include starring alongside Jason Momoa in Braven in 2018, where she played the wife of Momoa’s chracter.

Joining the Hallmark Channel family

Jill’s first introduction to the Hallmark Channel world came in 2015, when she starred in the film Autumn Dreams. Since then, her Hallmark catalog has grown exponentially, starring in films and shows such as Christmas Cookies, A Harvest Wedding, Maggie’s Christmas Miracle, Pearl in Paradise, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, Mystery 101, The Angel Tree, Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses, and many more.

Jill Wagner Movies and TV shows
2017

“I originally got involved with [Hallmark] because I asked my grandmother what she wanted me to do that I hadn’t yet done in my career,” Wagner told MediaVillage. “She said, ‘Hallmark movies.’ I took that to heart, called my manager and said, ‘Can we get a Hallmark movie going?’ Grandma wants a Hallmark movie; she gets one.”

Finding love in far away places

Jill married ex-hockey player David Lemanowicz in 2017 after a series of chance encounters. However, their origin story dates all the way back to Jill’s early days in North Carolina. In an episode of Hallmark Home & Family, Jill told the story of the first three dates they went on, her at 17 and he at 20.

“I snuck out of my dad’s window at home and went out at night, which I wasn’t supposed to,” Jill revealed. “I snuck out and met him. Fell completely head over heels. We went out three times, and then I never heard from him again.” But that’s not where their story ends. In fact, it continued all the way in Afghanistan.

By some twist of fate, Jill was there on a USO tour at the same time David was stationed there while active in the Air Force as a special agent. The two made the connection upon meeting each other after all this time, but were both in other relationships. Then, in 2016, the pair ran into each other at a Los Angeles restaurant, and at that point, they knew that the connection they had wasn’t something to mess around with.

Jill Wagner Movies and TV shows

Today, the couple have three daughters: Lija, Army Gray, and Daisy Roberta.

Jill Wagner’s charity work

Over the years, Jill has gotten involved with various charities and has used her platform to spread the word about causes that are important to her.

She told My Devotional Thoughts, “I support LLS-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They do so many good things to support people with cancer and help cure all blood cancers. I also love an organization called The Gentle Barn. The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are a sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs. Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories.”

What Jill is doing today

Today, Wagner can be seen in the Paramount+ series Special Ops: Lioness, where she acts alongside Zoe Saldana and Nicole Kidman in her role as Bobby. The series, spearheaded by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, lets us see Wagner as a tough CIA Special Activities Division operative — much different from her Hallmark roles!

Wagner is also an outspoken supporter of veterans. She recently shared to her Instagram that she and her husband were hosting an event at their Tellico Plains farm to raise money to benefit “Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), a remarkable non-profit with a 43-year legacy. SOWF is committed to providing fully funded educations and additional educational opportunities ‘cradle to career’ (preschool – college) for the surviving children of Special Operations Forces lost in the line of duty as well as children of all Medal of Honor Recipients,” she wrote in her Instagram caption.

She also detailed what could be expected at the event, including “muscadine grape gathering, live music by some musical friends of mine ( one you may even know 😉, a brief program involving Lieutenant General Scott A. Howell, USAF, Retired, and other patriots, and explore a local farmer’s market with U.S.A. made products. Also, savor in food truck offerings and enjoy a day in the country!”

Whether she’s taking on the role of a host, hunter or Hallmark romantic love interest, we can’t wait to see what Jill Wagner has in store next!


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