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Samantha Nishimura, or short Sam, is one of the survivors of the Endurance's shipwreck and a close friend and fellow graduate of Lara's. She is 22-year-old and works as a documentary producer/translator of the Endurance's expedition, being in charge of filming all the material and the video editing. Samantha's mother was a Portuguese model who was working in LA when she met Sam's father, a media mogul from Japan. Sam has Japanese citizenship and is fluent in both English and Japanese. Thanks to her rich parents, Sam has an expensive lifestyle, enjoying designer clothes and international trips.

Growing up Sam moved often between continents which had a negative effect on her schooling. Her parents eventually decided to enroll Sam in a boarding school. This was where she met Lara Croft and they became great friends. Later, they both chose UCL as their college where Sam studied film, specializing in documentary filmmaking and cinematography.

As Sam and Lara's education at UCL was drawing to a close, they decided to go on an adventure. While Lara worked on the Endurance officially as a deckhand, Sam kept her company onboard and worked on her tan. Whitman hired the Endurance to come with him on a voyage to find Yamatai, but when his TV show's network pulled its funding, Lara called Sam for help, and Sam was able to bail out the expedition with her uncle's money in exchange for a cut of the profits and for letting Sam work as the expedition's cameraperson. She believes Lara is onto something, and she wants to be there to film it for publicity. Sam is one of the few Endurance crew members to survive the shipwreck. Her whereabouts are unknown until Lara stumbles upon her at a camp with a mysterious man, who introduces himself as Mathias and explains that he has been stranded on Yamatai for several years. He soon turns out to be in league with the scavengers and he kidnaps Sam.

Sam is a central piece in the storyline of Tomb Raider (2013). A main part of Lara's adventure on the island revolves around finding and rescuing her friend, who is being held hostage by Mathias and his Solarii.

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