Wesley in July 2012
February 1, 1979 |
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Education||University of Evansville (BFA 2001) Juilliard School (2005)|
|Spouse(s)||Jacob Fishel (2006-present)|
Early life and education 
Wesley was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wesley's father, Ivery Wheeler, is a professional tap dancer and her mother, Cassandra Wesley, was a showgirl. She attended high school at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. She studied dance at Simba Studios and the West Las Vegas Arts Center.
While at the Las Vegas Academy, Wesley missed several other auditions for college training programs and was finally accepted by the University of Evansville in Indiana. She was hesitant in joining the university because of a lack of minorities in the state. After earning her undergraduate degree in Theatre Performance (B.F.A. 2001), her grandmother suggested that she do a nursing course, but Wesley insisted on pursuing her education. She joined the Juilliard School in 2001 and graduated in May 2005 (Group 34), which included a summer spent at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. At Juilliard, she became close friends with her future co-star Nelsan Ellis (Group 33: 2000–2004).
In December 2006, Wesley was featured in David Hare's Broadway play The Vertical Hour. In 2007, Wesley also appeared in The Public Theater production of In Darfur by playwright Winter Miller, co-starring Heather Raffo, Aaron Lohr among others.
Wesley had a minor role in 2005 film Hitch, which was edited in the final cut. However, she made her on screen debut in the lead role in 2007 film How She Move, from British director Ian Iqbal Rashid. The character Raya Green, who enters a step dancing competition to secure funds for her education, was inspired by Tony Manero, portrayed by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Prior to the shooting of the film, Wesley underwent a five-week dance rehearsal period. Portraying a woman of Jamaican descent, she also took dialect coaching for the role. Wesley auditioned for the role Tara Thornton in the HBO series True Blood in 2007 and secured the part after creator Alan Ball chose her because "[she] was the first person who showed [Tara's] vulnerable side".
Personal life 
|2007||How She Move||Raya Green||Film debut|
|2008||Numb3rs||Sarah||Episode: "Magic Show"|
|2008–present||True Blood||Tara Thornton||60 episodes, Regular|
|2009-2012||The Cleveland Show||Yvette / Tori (voice)||2 episodes|
|2010-2011||Generator Rex||Agent Kenwyn Jones (voice)||2 episodes|
|2009||Scream Awards||Best Supporting Actress||True Blood||Nominated|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series||True Blood||Nominated|
- Williams, Kam (January 20, 2008). "Rutina Wesley "How She Move" Interview with Kam Williams". News Blaze. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- Rochlin, Margy (October 30, 2008). "Flesh and Blood in a Town of Vampires". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- Cling, Carol (January 29, 2008). "Las Vegas Academy grad a shooting star". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- "Spotlight: Training to Act". Back Stage. Nielsen Business Media Inc. January 17, 2007. Retrieved April 14, 2009.[dead link]
- "Rutina Wesley". Biography.com. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Q&A With Rutina Wesley". Alumni News. The Juilliard School. May 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "How She Make a Movie: Rutina Wesley on Auditions, Epsom Salts, and Belief in Self". The Juilliard Journal. The Juilliard School. March 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Interview with Rutina Wesley". myFanbase. February 19, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. May 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- Pincus-Roth, Zachary (April 11, 2007). "Public's In Darfur to Star Raffo, Lohr, Washington, Wesley, Jah". Playbill. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- Marchand, Philip (January 24, 2008). "'How She Move' shows dance as escape". TheStar.com (Toronto Star Inc.). Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- Fleming, Mike (June 9, 2011). "True Blood's Rutina Wesley Lands Lead In Harrowing Rwanda Tale 'Left To Tell'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
- Evans, Ian (2010), "Jacob Fishel and Rutina Wesley at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards", DigitalHit.com, retrieved August 3, 2011