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. Michelle lived in Texas until the age of 8 when her family moved to the Dominican Republic where she lived for two years before moving to Puerto Rico.
Early Life And Career
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" (2008) and "Avatar" (2009). While the former cast her alongside the likes of Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, and Joshua Jackson, the latter wonderfully placed the actress under the direction of "Titanic" helmer James Cameron, opening chance for her to strike higher in the Hollywood film industry.
Controversies and Personal Life
Concerning her life beyond acting, Michelle, however, has encountered troubles for several times dealing with her behavior, beginning from a then-dropped charge that she allegedly attacked her roommate in Jersey City on March 16, 2002. In late 2003, this dark-haired actress was caught driving with a suspended license under intoxicated condition in Los Angeles, then pleaded no contest in relation to two motor vehicles incidents by 2004, followed by a series of hundred-dollars fine for speeding in August, October, and November 2005. December 2005 saw her once again faced problem for failing field sobriety test when driving car in Kailua, Hawaii together with her co-star of "Lost," Cynthia Watros, who drove in separate vehicle, leading her to go behind bars for few hours and serve 30 days of community service.
Much publications on Michelle's troubled behavior arose by September when she allegedly violated her probation by not completing her service and even not following an alcohol education program. The judge handling the case ultimately put her back in jail for 180 days at Lynwood's Century Regional Detention Facility, where she entered on December 23, 2007. Great portion of hype, in the meantime, also surrounded on the fact that she is a bisexual upon her revelation to best-selling lesbian magazine Curve, through which she openly exposed her relationship with fellow actress Kristanna Loken.
She dated Vin Diesel in 2001. She has also briefly dated Lenny Kravitz and Cara Delevingne. She has two brothers, Omar and Raul.
Simultaneously tough and sexy, Rodriguez has really created a niche for herself in the industry with her powerful performances. Off-screen, this self-described bad girl has had some run-ins with the law, but she'd likely be happier if the paparazzi focused on her part-time guilty pleasures, karaoke and in-line skating.
Here’s wishing her a very happy and untroubled birthday.