Rodriguez at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con
|Born||Mayte Michelle Rodriguez
July 12, 1978
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, screenwriter, DJ|
Mayte Michelle Rodriguez (//; born July 12, 1978), is an American actress, screenwriter, and DJ. Her breakout role was as a troubled boxer in the independent film Girlfight (2000), which was met with critical acclaim and earned her several awards, including the Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award for Best Debut Performance. The following year, she starred as Letty Ortiz in the blockbuster film The Fast and the Furious (2001), reprising her role in its sequels Fast & Furious (2009), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), and Furious 7 (2015). During her career, Rodriguez has played tough, independent women in a number of successful action films, such as Blue Crush, S.W.A.T., Battle: Los Angeles, and Avatar, She is also known for her roles as Shé in the action comedy films Machete and Machete Kills, and Rain Ocampo in the science fiction films Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Retribution.
Rodriguez also branched into television, playing Ana Lucia Cortez in the second season of the television series Lost as part of the main cast before making numerous guest appearances before the series ended. She has also done numerous voice work in video games such as Call of Duty and Halo, and lent her voice for the 3D animated film Turbo and the television series IGPX. With her films grossing over $5 billion (U.S.) collectively, a 2013 Entertainment Weekly article described Rodriguez as "arguably the most iconic actress in the action genre, as well as one of the most visible Latinas in Hollywood".
Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother, Carmen Milady Rodriguez (née Pared Espinal),[a] is Dominican, and her father, Rafael Rodriguez, was a Puerto Rican who served in the U.S. Army. Rodriguez moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother when she was eight years old and lived there until the age of 11. Later, she moved to Puerto Rico until the age of 17, and finally settled in Jersey City, New Jersey. She dropped out of high school, but later earned her GED. In total, she was expelled from five schools. She briefly attended business school before quitting to pursue a career in acting, with the ultimate goal of becoming a screenwriter and director.
Rodriguez has 10 siblings and half-siblings. She was partly raised by her devoutly religious maternal grandmother, and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness (her mother's religion), although she has since abandoned the faith. A DNA test of Rodriguez, performed by the television program Finding Your Roots, found that her ancestry is 72.4% European, 21.3% African, and 6.3% Native American. She also stated on the show that there was some racial conflict between her families, since her Puerto Rican father had a light complexion and her Dominican mother had a dark complexion.
Film and television
Having run across an ad for an open casting call and attending her first audition, Rodriguez beat 350 other applicants to win her first role in the low-budget 2000 independent film Girlfight. With her performance as Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, Rodriguez accumulated several awards and nominations for the role in independent circles, including major acting accolades from the National Board of Review, Deauville Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Las Vegas Film Critics Sierra Awards, and many others. The film itself took home a top prize at the Sundance and won Award of the Youth at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1999, she auditioned for a role in Sisqó's hit music video, "Thong Song". In 2002, she had a cameo appearance in Ja Rule's music video for his song "Always On Time".
Rodriguez has had notable roles in other successful movies, including Letty Ortiz in The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Rain Ocampo in Resident Evil (2002). She also appeared in Blue Crush and S.W.A.T.. In 2004, Rodriguez lent her voice to the video game Halo 2, playing a Marine. She also provided the voice of Liz Ricarro in the Cartoon Network series IGPX. From 2005 to 2006, she played tough cop Ana Lucia Cortez on the television series Lost during the show's second season (the character's first appearance was a flashback during the first season's finale, "Exodus: Part 1"), and returned for a cameo in the second episode of the show's fifth season, "The Lie", in 2009. She returned again in the penultimate episode of the series, "What They Died For", in 2010. In 2006, Rodriguez was featured in her own episode of G4's show Icons.
In 2008, Rodriguez appeared in Battle in Seattle. In 2009, she appeared in Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of the The Fast and the Furious film series. Later that year, Rodriguez starred in James Cameron's high-budget sci-fi adventure film Avatar, which became the highest-grossing film in history and Rodriguez's most successful film to date. She has expressed interest in returning for the film's two sequels. In 2009, Rodriguez also starred in Trópico de Sangre, an independent film based on the Dominican Republic's historic Mirabal sisters.
In 2010, Rodriguez appeared in Robert Rodriguez's Machete. The film received mostly positive reviews and earned US$44 million at the box office. In 2011, she appeared with Aaron Eckhart in the science fiction film Battle: Los Angeles which grossed over US$200 million in the worldwide box office. In 2012, she returned to play the good clone and bad clone of Rain Ocampo in Resident Evil: Retribution. In 2013, she reprised her role as Letty Ortiz in Fast & Furious 6. In the same year, Rodriguez appeared in Robert Rodriguez's film Machete Kills.
After her film debut, Girlfight, Rodriguez has consistently portrayed tough and tomboyish characters who operate in traditional male fields such as the police force or armed forces. Rodriguez says that she does not mind the typecasting, and in fact, is somewhat responsible for it:
|“||I was typecast the minute I did a film called Girlfight years ago [...] you allow yourself to be typecast. If I decided I didn't want to be typecast tomorrow, I'd just go do an indie film where I play some poor girl who goes through some excruciating experience and win myself an award for crying or being raped or playing someone with mental illness. But at the end of the day, I'm not in it for the acting. If I were in it for the acting then I would be worried about people not giving me the opportunity to express my vast array of emotions on the screen.
I only wanna be someone I respect or someone that I consider interesting or fun. I'm here to entertain people and make a statement about female empowerment and strength, and that's what I've done for the last 10 years [...] I pigeonholed myself and I put myself in that box by saying no to everything else that came on my plate [...] saying no to this, no to that [...] and eventually I just got left with the strong chick that's always being killed, and there's nothing wrong with that.
During the promotional tour of Fast & Furious 6 Rodriguez has stated that she originally joined the Hollywood business to become a screenwriter. She has also stated that she has two screenplays under development and plans to take a break from acting to pursue her writing. One is a family film based on a concept which she describes as "a 2012 story about purity and animals and children", and the other is a revision of an American remake of the 1997 German film Bandits which she describes as a film "about four girls who break out of jail and get chased across the country by the feds and by this MTV-like representative".
Rodriguez has been performing as a disc jockey since 2009—both internationally in nightclubs and at film première after-parties. Rodriguez has stated that her preferred genre to mix is house music and has gone on the record to say, that "for the most part I like playing for mature crowds so that I can go all the way back to the 1930s then through the 1960s, 1970 and 1980s—then kick it into house, hip-hop and R&B. I like to mix it up, it's pretty eclectic."
In early 2000, Rodriguez broke off an engagement to a Muslim boyfriend, citing opposition to religious requests he made of her. She has since reportedly dated her Fast and the Furious co-star Vin Diesel and S.W.A.T. co-star Olivier Martinez.
In July 2006, Rodriguez told Cosmopolitan magazine that she is not a lesbian, but had "experimented with both sexes". In November 2006, her openly bisexual Bloodrayne co-star Kristanna Loken made comments to The Advocate that were widely interpreted by the media as an admission that the two were in a relationship, though the relationship was never officially confirmed by either actress. In June 2007, the lesbian magazine Curve ran a cover story that claimed Rodriguez to be bisexual. Rodriguez criticized the magazine for this, asserting that the magazine had "put words in her mouth". She again stated that she was not a lesbian in a November 2008 interview in the Dominican Republic women's magazine Cayena.
In October 2013, Entertainment Weekly quoted her saying: "I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks." She subsequently explained her coming out to Latina magazine: "I'm getting older. Eventually it's going to wrinkle up and I'm not going to be able to use it. I wanted to be honest about who I am and see what happens." In May 2014, she said in an interview that she hoped her actions would help others in a similar situation: "Maybe by me opening my big fat mouth like I usually do and stepping up and owning who I am, maybe it might inspire somebody else to do the same." She described herself as bisexual in another interview later that month: "Bi, yeah, I fall under the B category of LGBT". Regarding the lack of unconventional female roles available in films, she said: "What's wrong with being bi? I mean, we're getting flak everywhere we go."
In March 2002, Rodriguez was arrested for assault after getting into a fight with her roommate. The charges were later dropped after the roommate declined to press the allegations in court. In November 2003, Rodriguez went to court to face eight misdemeanor charges based on two driving incidents including a hit and run and driving under the influence (DUI). In June 2004, Rodriguez pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to three of the charges: hit and run, drunken driving, and driving with a suspended license. She went to jail for 48 hours, performed community service at the morgues of two New York hospitals, completed a three-month alcohol program, and was placed on probation for three years.
In 2005, while filming Lost in Hawaii, Rodriguez was pulled over by Honolulu police multiple times; she was cited for driving at 83 mph (134 km/h) in a 55 mph (89 km/h) zone on Oahu on November 1, and was fined US$357. She paid a US$300 fine for driving 90 mph (140 km/h) in a 35 mph (56 km/h) zone on October 20, and was fined US$197 for going 80 mph (130 km/h) in a 50 mph (80 km/h) zone on August 24.
On December 1, 2005, Rodriguez was pulled over and arrested for DUI. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty when arraigned, but on the day of her trial in April 2006, she pleaded guilty to one charge of driving under the influence. She chose to pay a US$500 fine and spend five days in jail instead of doing 240 hours of community service. She cited her high doses of allergy-relieving steroids as part of the reason for her erratic behavior. Because the Kailua incident was a violation of her Los Angeles probation, she was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a 30-day alcohol rehabilitation program and another 30 days of community service, including work for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, by a Los Angeles judge on May 1, 2006. Because of overcrowding, she was released from jail on the same day she entered. She wrote about the experience on her blog.
In September 2007, Rodriguez allegedly violated her probation by not completing her community service and not following an alcohol education program. It was reported that she originally submitted a document stating she performed community service on September 5, 2006, but it was later confirmed she was actually in New York City that day. Her lawyer claimed it was a clerical error. On October 10, 2007, following a hearing, she was sentenced to 180 days jail time after agreeing to admit to violating her probation. She was expected to spend the full 180-day term in jail, as she had been deemed ineligible for work furloughs and house arrest. However, after turning herself in to begin the jail term at the Century Regional Detention Facility located in Lynwood, California, on December 23, 2007, she was released eighteen days later on January 9, 2008, due to overcrowding.
|2001||Fast and the Furious, TheThe Fast and the Furious||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz|
|2002||Resident Evil||Rain Ocampo|
|2003||S.W.A.T.||Officer Chris Sanchez|
|2006||Breed, TheThe Breed||Nicki|
|2007||Battle in Seattle||Lou|
|2008||Gardens of the Night||Lucy|
|2009||Fast & Furious||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz|
|2009||Los Bandoleros||Short film|
|2009||Avatar||Captain Trudy Chacon|
|2010||Trópico de Sangre||Minerva Mirabal|
|2011||Battle: Los Angeles||Technical Sergeant Elana Santos|
|2012||Resident Evil: Retribution||Rain Ocampo|
|2013||Fast & Furious 6||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz|
|2015||Furious 7||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz-Toretto|
|2016||Milton's Secret||Ms. Ferguson||Completed|
|2016||(Re) Assignment||Frank Kitchen / Tomboy||Post-production|
|2017||The Fate of the Furious||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz-Toretto||Filming|
|2005–06||Immortal Grand Prix||Liz Ricarro||26 episodes
Voice: English version
|2005–2010||Lost||Ana Lucia Cortez||24 episodes|
|2011||CollegeHumor Original||Jessica||Episode: "Sorority Pillow Fight"|
|2012||Germany's Next Top Model||Herself||Episode: "A Dream Comes True: Hollywood is Waiting"|
|2015||Running Wild with Bear Grylls||Herself||Episode: "Michelle Rodriguez"|
|2015||Super Into||Herself||Episode: "Michelle Rodriguez is Super Into Superbikes"|
|2001||"Always on Time"||Ja Rule and Ashanti|
|2003||True Crime: Streets of LA||Rosie Velasco|
|2009||James Cameron's Avatar: The Game||Captain Trudy Chacon|
|2012||Call of Duty: Black Ops II||Strike Force Soldier|
Theme park ride
|2015||Fast & Furious: Supercharged||Leticia "Letty" Ortiz|
Awards and nominations
- "Official Site Biography". Michelle-Rodriguez.com. Retrieved February 7, 2007.http://www.michelle-rodriguez.com/
- Marx, Rebecca Flint (2008). "Michelle Rodriguez: Biography". Rovi via MSN. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- "Michelle Rodriguez lands in UAE as guest DJ at two clubs". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- ""Girlfight" a Winner". FilmFestivals.com. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards. "Gothan Awards Recipients" (PDF). Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "The Ghost Cast & Crew List". The Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved December 23, 2010.[dead link]
- Vilkomerson, Sara (October 1, 2013). "Michelle Rodriguez talks movies, female empowerment, and sex: 'I don't talk about what I do with my vagina'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Romero, Angie (April 15, 2009). "Michelle Rodriguez: "I Feel Like I'm Being Born Again"". Latina. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- "Michelle Rodriguez Biography (1978–)". Film Reference. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- Stated on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., May 20, 2012, PBS
- "Michelle Rodriguez- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Raphael, Amy (April 11, 2009). "Amy Raphael interviews Michelle Rodriguez". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- "Michelle Rodriguez Official Biography". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2008.
- "Michelle Rodriguez: in role after role, she has kicked the stereotype of the token female in the teeth, leaving an imprint all her own.". September 2003. Retrieved December 25, 2007.[dead link]
- "The Religious Affiliation of Actress Michelle Rodriguez". World Religions. August 11, 2005. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- "Adrian Grenier, Michelle Rodriguez, and Linda Chavez (@ the 47:30 mark)". PBS. March 22, 2012.http://wayback.archive.org/web/20151018034351/http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/video/adrian-grenier-michelle-rodriguez-and-linda-chavez/
- "A Conversation About "Girlfight"; October 27, 2000". Charlierose.com. October 27, 2000. Retrieved March 8, 2010.http://wayback.archive.org/web/20151018034351/http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/3443
- ""Girlfight" a Winner". FilmFestivals.com. Retrieved December 23, 2010.http://wayback.archive.org/web/20150910023913/http://www.filmfestivals.com/deauville_2000/day10.htm
- "'Girlfight,' 'Count on Me' Tie at Sundance". Los Angeles Times. January 30, 2000. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "S.W.A.T.". TV Guide. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "Interview: Michelle Rodriguez in Halo 2". Gamestar. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Itzkoff, Dave (November 15, 2005). "She loves acting tough on 'Lost'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "ICONS: Michelle Rodriguez Episode #6004". G4 Media. June 24, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "Battle in Seattle". The Miami Herald. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- Itzkoff, Dave (March 26, 2009). "What a Stunt! Can They Do It Again?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 16, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- ""Universal Shuffles 2009 Schedule"; December 10, 2008". Sfluxe.com. December 10, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2010.http://wayback.archive.org/web/20150402110112/http://sfluxe.com/2008/12/10/universal-shuffles-2009-schedule/
- Wilkins, Alasdair (December 28, 2010). "Michelle Rodriguez wants to return for Avatar 2". io9.com.
- "Michelle Rodriguez Talks Avatar 2". E!.
- "Tropico de Sangre". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "La historia de las hermanas Mirabal". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved December 23, 2010.
- "Get Your Grindhouse Fix With a New Poster from Robert Rodriguez's Machete". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
- "Michelle Rodriquez Responds". Hollywoodnews.com. July 26, 2010.
- "Michelle Rodriguez Writing Kids Film". Internet Movie Database. September 18, 2008.
- "GameCulture Exclusive: 'Avatar' Vet Michelle Rodriguez Talks Modern Warfare and Dodging Earthquakes". Gameculture.com. December 14, 2009. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009.
- Betiku, Fehintola (May 24, 2012). "Too cool for Cannes... Michelle Rodriguez shows off her DJ skills at the Sea Shepherd party in Cannes". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "Rodriguez Turned Down Muslim Marriage". Cinema.com. June 6, 2008. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012.
- Wloszczyna, Susan (August 6, 2002). "Vin Diesel, in high gear". USA Today. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- "Minogue's Martinez linked to Rodriguez". Contact Music. May 2, 2008. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2005.
- Kent, Paul (May 2, 2008). "Kylie and Oli on rocks again". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 29, 2005.[dead link]
- "LOST girl" (reprint). Cosmopolitan. April 16, 2006. Retrieved February 4, 2007.http://www.michelle-rodriguez.com/
- Kort, Michele (November 15, 2006). "Michelle & Kristanna in love!". The Advocate. PlanetOut Inc. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- "Michelle Rodriguez 'Curve' cover controversial". Monstersandcritics.com. Retrieved May 2, 2008.
- "Michelle Rodriguez Blogs About Curve Article". michelle-rodriguez.com. May 2007. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
- "Michelle Rodriguez: 'RD no debería tener esa mentalidad tan gubernamental'". Cayena. Retrieved November 22, 2008.[dead link]
- Rodriguez, Priscilla (19 November 2013). "Exclusive: Michelle Rodriguez talks 'Turbo' & coming out: I wanted to be honest". Latina. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Hernandez, Greg (May 12, 2014). "Michelle Rodriguez chats with GSN at her first LGBTI event since coming out as bisexual". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.http://wayback.archive.org/web/20151018034352/http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/michele-rodriguez-chats-gsn-her-first-lgbti-event-coming-out-bisexual120514
- Ocamb, Karen (May 20, 2014). "Michelle Rodriguez Asks 'What's Wrong with Being Bi?'". frontiersla.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- Grossberg, Josh (March 20, 2002). ""Girlfight" Star Busted for Girl Fight". E!. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- Grossberg, Josh (April 8, 2002). ""Girlfight" Star Off the Hook". E!. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- Haberman, Lia (November 20, 2003). "Rodriguez: Way 2 Fast 2 Furious". E!. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- ""Lost" actress chooses jail over service". CBS News. Associated Press. April 26, 2006. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
- Hall, Sarah (December 14, 2005). "Rodriguez: Fast and Furious Driver". E!. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- "Michelle Rodriguez settles two traffic cases". MSNBC. Associated Press. December 14, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
- "Two 'Lost' stars charged with drunken driving". MSNBC. Associated Press. December 2, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
- Errico, Marcus (December 29, 2005). ""Lost" Stars Arraigned for DUIs". E!. Retrieved July 21, 2006.http://www.eonline.com/news/51364/lost-stars-arraigned-for-duis
- Finn, Natalie (May 22, 2006). "More Jail Time for Michelle Rodriguez". E!. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2006.
- Lee, Ken & Silverman, Stephen M. (May 22, 2006). "Michelle Rodriguez Gets 60 Days in Jail". People. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
- ""Michelle Rodriguez Blogs About Arrest and Conviction"; February 16, 2007". Michelle-rodriguez.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- Lee, Ken (October 27, 2007). "Michelle Rodriguez Sentenced to Six Months in Jail wow". People. Retrieved February 10, 2008.
- Finn, Natalie (October 10, 2007). "Slammer Time for Michelle Rodriguez". E!.
- "Former 'Lost' star Michelle Rodriguez reports for 6-month jail term in California". MSNBC. Associated Press. December 24, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2007.[dead link]
- "Michelle Rodriguez out of jail after 18 days". MSNBC. January 10, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
- Miska, Brad (September 22, 2011). "Michelle Rodriguez Returning for Some 'Retribution'!". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.