Associated with her tough character roles, American actress Michelle Rodriguez
made an auspicious debut as boxing teenager Diana Guzman in the acclaimed
independent movie Girlfight (2000). For her dazzling effort, she was awarded a
National Board of Review Award, a Gotham Award, a Deauville of American Cinema
Award, an Independent Award and a Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award. She has
since appeared in popular films like The Fast and the Furious (2001) and
Resident Evil (2002), as well as in the hit series “Lost” (2005-06).
Rodriguez’s life outside the limelight is as interesting as her screen career.
One of Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women In The World’ (2002) and the 34th of
Maxim’s “100 Sexiest Women” (2002), Rodriguez has been involved in numerous
legal battles, including being arrested and charged for attacking her female
roommate (2002) and spending jail time for violence, drunk driving and driving
with a suspended license (2004). The American beauty of Puerto Rican and
Dominican descent was recently released from jail after serving a two-month jail
sentence for abusing trial terms after her drunk driving arrest in Hawaii in
2005. Recalling her experience in prison, she said, “I have a really good belief
in destiny. It’s like, if I’m gonna be killed in there, I’m gonna be killed in
there. But people were cool.” She added, “It was so cool. I love people, and it
was a primal crew. The only thing that keeps them going is fighting for salt and
making dice out of soap.”
As for her love life, Rodriguez was formerly linked to leading man Vin Diesel.
Childhood and Family:
On July 12, 1978, Michelle Marie Rodriguez was born to Gabriel Eusebio and
Almarys Ortiz. A native of Bell County, Texas, she spent her early years in
Texas until her parents’ separation in 1986. She then moved to the Dominican
Republic to live with her devout, religious maternal grandmother who raised her
as a Jehovah’s Witness. Two years later, Michelle moved in with her father in
Puerto Rico and lived there until she was 11. Michelle then relocated to Jersey
City, New Jersey, to live with her mother.
Michelle is the younger sister of twin brothers, Raul and Oscar. As for school,
she dropped out of high school at age 17 after being kicked out of six schools.
She later returned and graduated via an equivalency diploma.
Michelle is a passionate in-line skater and plays the piano.
Michelle Rodriguez got her start in the entertainment industry as a film extra
in Cradle Will Rock, Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam, and For Love of the Game. She
quickly hit the big time when she won the starring role of Diana Guzman, a
hard-hitting, troubled high school student who escapes her hostility by boxing,
in the low-budget, independent Girlfight (2000). Beating 350 other applicants,
she gave evidence to both audiences and critics alike that she was the right
choice for the part by netting several awards such as a National Board of Review
and a Gotham for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress, a Deauville of
American Cinema for Best Female Performance, an Independent Spirit for Best
Debut Performance and a Las Vegas Film Critics Society for Best Female Newcomer.
As for the film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, the Karyn Kusama-helmed
movie became a favorite among juries and won a Grand Jury Prize.
Rodriguez followed that up with a starring role as a tough NYC cabbie named
Salgado in the Showtime original production 3 A.M. The 2001 film also starred
Danny Glover and Pam Grier. Michelle verified her rising status when filmmaker
Rob Cohen cast her as the female lead, opposite Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, in
the blockbuster smash hit The Fast and the Furious, that same year. Along with
the film’s success, the actress also enjoyed a highly publicized romance with
costar Vin Diesel.
In 2002, Rodriguez was again put in the mainstream with her role of Rain Ocampo,
a zombie-killing commando, in the action film Resident Evil, director Paul W.S.
Anderson’s adaptation of a video game with the same name. The successful movie
also starred Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan
of Arc). Still in 2002, the feisty Jersey girl earned a MTV Movie nomination for
Best On-Screen Team for her impressive collaboration with costars Kate Bosworth
and Sanoe Lake in the surfing-themed movie Blue Crush.
She then shared the screen with Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell in the
action movie S.W.A.T. (2003, played Chris), lent her voice for three video
games: True Crime: Streets of LA (2003), Driv3r (2004) and Halo 2 (2004), before
returning in front of the film camera with the supporting turn of Teresa in the
thriller Control (2004), for director Tim Hunter. In 2005, she worked with Salma
Hayek for the Puerto Rican animated Sian Ka’an and tasted the waters of
action/horror again in Uwe Boll’s BloodRayne, also with Kristanna Loken, Matthew
Davis, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen and Billy Zane.
Also in 2005, Rodriguez made her TV series debut as a regular in the hit ABC
drama/thriller “Lost,” playing tough Ana-Lucia Cortez (2005-2006). Also in 2006,
her distinctive, husky voice could be heard as Liz in the animated series “IGPX:
Immortal Grand Prix.”
The 28-year-old beauty will soon star as Nicki in the Nicholas Mastandrea-directed
The Breed (2006). The horror movie also stars Eric Lively, Oliver Hudson, Taryn
Manning and Hill Harper.
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award - Best Female Newcomer,
Independent Spirit: Best Debut Performance, Girlfight, 2001
Deauville Film Festival: Acting Prize - Best Female Performance,
Gotham: Breakthrough Award, Girlfight, 2000
National Board of Review: Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress,