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|Born||Tessie Marie Santiago
August 10, 1975
Miami, Florida, United States
Family and education
Tessie Santiago is a first generation American. Her parents and grandparents fled from Cuba after Fidel Castro took power of the country in the early 1960s. Her grandfather was a sculptor. Santiago's father was a musician and her mother's mother was described as a painter. (Santiago's mother went on to earn a college degree as a working adult in Florida and was employed for many years as an administrative assistant at the University of Miami Medical School.) Santiago learned to play the piano at age seven.
A May 1999 graduate from the University of Miami, she earned a double major in film and theater arts and was able to study Shakespeare in London, England and Film Production with the Faculty of Film and Television of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, Czech Republic. She has always immersed herself in creative endeavors. At university, she starred in the independent film Echo and became the resident “It Girl,” acting in many student films.
While working in Spain on the Queen of Swords, Santiago rescued and adopted a dog she named Zion.
Santiago made her television debut in 2000 in the syndicated action/adventure television series Queen of Swords, playing Tessa Alvarado/The Queen. She went on to appear on television shows including the first 11 episodes of the first season of the sitcom Good Morning, Miami, playing Lucia Rojas-Klein; and in episodes of Kitchen Confidential, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and One on One. In 2001, Santiago landed a co-starring role with Annabeth Gish and Kamar de los Reyes in the VH1 TV-movie The Way She Moves, playing Christina Juarez, a Latina dancer with the dream of winning a dance exhibition. Santiago then played Sarah Marshall in the independent film The Way Back Home. In 2009, she starred in the movie The Cell 2, a direct-to-video spin-off of the 2000 film The Cell, playing psychic investigator Maya Casteneda. She was a cast regular on the 2010 TV series Twentysixmiles, playing Jennifer Calderon. She also had a role in the 2010 film Angel Camouflaged playing Desdemona. She guest starred in an episode of the TV series Royal Pains in 2010, reuniting with her former Good Morning, Miami co-star, Mark Feuerstein. She appeared in 3 episodes of the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2012.
- Queen of Swords (2000–2001) TV Show – Tessa Alvarado/The Queen
- Good Morning, Miami (2002–2003) TV Show - Lucía Rojas-Klein (11 episodes)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2004) HBO Series - Chambermaid
- Kitchen Confidential (2005) TV Show - Donna
- One on One (2006) TV Show - Hannah
- One Hot Summer (2009) Made-for-TV Movie - Anabel Aguilera
- Twentysixmiles (2010) TV Show - Jennifer Calderon
- The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2013) TV Show - Sonya (3 episodes)
- The Way She Moves (2001) Video Hits One TV Movie - Christina Juarez
- The Way Back Home (2005) Independent Movie - Sara Marshall
- Break-In (2006) LifeTime TV Movie - Joannie
- The Cell 2 (2009) direct-to-video - Maya Casteneda
- Angel Camouflaged (2010) - Desdemona
- Defunct official QoS website cast pages
- Retrieved from defunct QOS website Nov 7, 2011
- "Queen of Swords.com". Wallpaper. Fireworks Entertainment/Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on October 7, 2002. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- |Maxim Magazine Hot 100 Women of 2001| accessdate=November 2011