- 10:25 AM, Feb 25
With a unique blend of good acting skills, toughness and beauty, Mayte Michelle Rodriguez has really established a solid career in Hollywood as one of the promising young stars that people laud of. Inherited Hispanic ethnicity of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent from her parents, Rafael Rodriguez and Carmen Milady, Michelle was born on July 12, 1978 in Bexar County, Texas as the only daughter in her family. Following her parents' separation when she turned eight, the girl was taken along by her mother to Dominican Republic, then Puerto Rico before finally settled in Jersey City, New Jersey by the age of eleven. Decided to enter the working life after passing her GED test, she thus ventured into entertainment business, becoming a struggling thespian who only earned appearances as an extra in the 1999 movies of "Summer of Sam" and "Cradle Will Rock."
In her effort to come out of the obscurity, this young Latina then headed for New York to attend an open casting call looking for a suitable actress to play Diana Guzman, a female boxer in Karyn Kusama's new project. Competed with 350 other hopefuls, she surprisingly became the one who obtained that leading role, consequently underwent an intensive training of boxing at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York while also took acting courses to polish her raw talent. Her dedication to the physical and emotional demands of her character was really paid off as the picture, "Girlfight" (2000), fantastically was bestowed the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival held in the same year, instantly bringing her name to the surface.
Also received accolades and positive reviews of her performance in the sports drama feature, Michelle undoubtedly became a new center of attention which subsequently enabled her to secure a major role in Rob Cohen's "The Fast and the Furious" (2001). Starred alongside Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, her status grew larger when the flick turned out to be a smash box-office hit worldwide, scoring an international gross of more than 207 million U.S. dollar. Afterwards made a string of success through "Resident Evil" (2002), "Blue Crush" (2002), and "S.W.A.T" (2003), she satisfyingly enhanced her career with appearances in "BloodRayne" (2005) and "The Breed" (2007) as well as in ABC's popular series "Lost" in 2005-2006.
The rest of 2000s proved to be good period for Michelle as she smoothly joined two more high-profile productions of "Battle in Seattle"