Justina Machado

Justina Milagros Machado (born September 6, 1972)[2] is an American actress, known for her roles as Penelope Alvarez on the Netflix and Pop TV sitcom One Day at a Time,[3][4] Darci Factor in The CW dramedy Jane the Virgin, Vanessa Diaz on the HBO drama Six Feet Under, and Brenda on the USA drama Queen of the South.[5]

Justina Machado
Machado in 2016
Machado in 2016
Justina Milagros Machado[1]

(1972-09-06) September 6, 1972 (age 48)
Years active1993–present

Early lifeEdit

Machado was born in Chicago, Illinois, one of two children of Alicia Morales Ruiz and Ismael Machado.[1] Her mother was born in Puerto Rico and her father was born in Chicago, to Puerto Rican parents.[3] They subsequently divorced and her mother remarried and had three children. Her family roots are in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico and Barrio Jagual, Patillas, Puerto Rico, and her ancestry includes Afro-Latino.[1] Machado had a traditional quinceañera.[3] She said her family was poor, and she grew up in the Northwest Side of Chicago.[6] Machado was raised Catholic.[7]

Machado was very active in drama, always participating in her school plays. She also took dance at Franklin Fine Arts Center.[6] In 1986, Machado attended Lane Technical College Prep High School.[2] During her spare time, she performed with the Latino Chicago Theater Company.

Machado was a guest appearing in Episode 6 of Season 6 of "Finding Your Roots", a documentary show by PBS that is hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., during which it was confirmed that she has African matrilineal ancestry (i.e. through a female ancestor on her mother's side[8]) through genetics testing of her mitochondrial DNA.[9]


In 1990, after graduating from Lane Tech, Machado moved to New York City. The experience which she had gained as a performer with the Latino Chicago Theater Company helped open the doors for her in that city. Soon, she was offered a job as a professional actress in Los Angeles, California. Machado moved to Los Angeles and in 1996, she landed her first two acting roles. She was cast as "Elsa" in the TV series NYPD Blue episode #311, and she was also cast as "Val Cho" in the movie made for television No One Would Tell.[2]


On June 10, 2001, Machado auditioned for the TV series Six Feet Under and was cast as Vanessa Diaz, originally a supporting character, later evolving into one of the series' main characters. Machado and her cast mates were honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series". The series completed its final season in 2005.[5]

She has also appeared in the Canadian television series, 1-800-Missing, as a character named Sunny Estrada.

In 2009, she appeared in nine episodes on the series ER as Chicago police officer Claudia Diaz.[2] Machado also appeared in Body of Proof as villainess Emily Burrows, and recurred on Devious Maids as Zoila's sister, Reina. Machado also recurred as Brenda in the USA crime drama series Queen of the South.

[10] In the 2017 remake of One Day at a Time, Machado has received positive reviews for her role as a single mother raising two children and struggling with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan.[11] Before this, Machado began portraying the recurring role of Darci Factor in The CW drama series Jane the Virgin.

Machado will guest star on the NBC comedy series Superstore playing new district manager Maya, with whom Amy Sosa shares a surprising connection.[12]

After having been announced to portray Florence Johnston in the first Live in Front of a Studio Audience’s The Jeffersons portion, instead reprised by Marla Gibbs,[13] Machado was cast in the second edition in December 2019.[14]

On September 2, 2020, Machado was announced as one of the celebrities competing on the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars, partnered with professional dancer, Sasha Farber.[15]


Machado has participated in over 15 films. Amongst her most notable roles so far have been Carmen Rodriguez in She's So Lovely, Isabella Hudson in Final Destination 2, Agent Henderson in Torque, Natalia in Little Fugitive, Teresa in Man Maid, Sofia in The Accidental Husband, Tanya in The Purge: Anarchy, and FBI Agent Rosie Gomez in the film In the Electric Mist.


Machado has also made appearances on stage, including a 2008 production of Neil LaBute's play, Some Girl(s), at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.[16] She was in productions of Blade to the Heat and Black Butterfly at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She was the first replacement for Andréa Burns in Broadway's In the Heights.[17] In 2010, Machado appeared in the Los Angeles run of Love, Loss and What I Wore.[18]

Other workEdit

In 2003, Machado appeared in the music video for TLC's song "Damaged", the third single from their fourth studio album 3D, as a young woman trapped in an abusive relationship and unsure of what to do with her life.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 She's So Lovely Carmen Rodriguez
1998 The Week That Girl Died Marita
1999 Swallows America
2000 Following Paula Paula Ormida Short film
2001 Sticks Maria
A.I. Artificial Intelligence Assistant
2002 Dragonfly Oncology Desk Nurse
Full Frontal Linda's Friend in Kitchen
2003 Final Destination 2 Isabella Hudson
2004 Torque Henderson
2006 Little Fugitive Natalia
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Paramedic
2008 The Accidental Husband Sofia
Breast Pump & Blender Lizzie Short film
Man Maid Terressa
Pedro Mily
2009 In the Electric Mist Rosie Gomez
2013 The Call Rachel
2014 Endgame Karla
The Purge: Anarchy Tanya
2020 Scoob! Jamie Rivera Voice
All Together Now Becky
TBA With/In Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 ABC Afterschool Special Episode: "Love Hurts"
Missing Persons Juanita Gonzales Episode: "That's My Sister, Pal"
1996 NYPD Blue Elsa Episode: "Burnin' Love"
Second Noah Roxanna Episode: "Second Noah"
No One Would Tell Val Cho TV film
1997 ER Ms. Cruz Episode: "Ambush"
Moloney Episode: "I'm Ambivalent About L.A."
Crisis Center Raquel Episode: "He Said, She Said"
Arsenio Anna Montez Episode: "We Can Still Be Friends"
Goode Behavior Raquel Delarosa Recurring role (5 episodes)
1998 The Gregory Hines Show Maria Episode: "James Stevenson Stands Alone"
Any Day Now Olivia Episode: "It's Who You Sleep With"
Touched by an Angel Marisol Episode: "An Angel on the Roof"
Malcolm & Eddie Laura Morales Episodes: "Love Thy Neighbor", "The Fool Monty"
1999 Promised Land Roxie Kahle Episode: "Darkness Visible"
Early Edition Laura Episode: "Camera Shy"
1999–2000 Oh Baby Mona Episodes: "Guilt", "Friendship", "Cinderella"
2000 Angel Jo Episode: "Judgment"
2001–2005 Six Feet Under Vanessa Diaz Regular role (42 episodes)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2002 The Johnny Chronicles Marisol TV film
Strong Medicine Episode: "Type & Cross"
2003–2004 Missing Sunny Estrada Main role (17 episodes)
2006 Alpha Mom TV film
Ghost Whisperer Suzanne Episode: "Demon Child"
Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America Alma Ansen TV film
Grey's Anatomy Anna Nyles Episode: "Oh, the Guilt"
2007 Cold Case Amelia Lopez Episode: "The Good Death"
Ugly Betty Cousin Clara Episodes: "A Tree Grows in Guadalajara", "Family/Affair"
2008 Man of Your Dreams Sheryl TV film
Kath & Kim Angel Episodes: "Old", "Money"
2009 ER Claudia Diaz Recurring role (8 episodes)
2009–2010 Three Rivers Pam Acosta Main role (13 episodes)
2010 Burn Notice Lauren Episode: "Neighborhood Watch"
Bones Lupe Rojas Episode: "The Couple in the Cave"
2011 Off the Map Teresa Episode: "Hold on Tight"
The Protector Marisol Casas Episode: "Blood"
Body of Proof Emily Burrows Episode: "Lazarus Man"
Harry's Law Counsel Episode: "American Girl"
2012 Desperate Housewives Claudia Sanchez Episodes: "Who Can Say What's True?", "What's the Good of Being Good"
Switched at Birth Nurse Britzia Munoz Episodes: "Starry Night", "The Art of Painting"
2012–2013 Private Practice Stephanie Kemp Recurring role (6 episodes)
2013 The Fosters Sonia Rivera Episodes: "Saturday", "The Fallout", "I Do"
Welcome to the Family Lisette Hernandez Episodes: "1.1", "1.2"
Murder Police Rosa Sanchez TV series
2014 Major Crimes Ana Ruiz Episode 13, Season 3
2015 Devious Maids Reina Episodes: "She Done Him Wrong", "The Turning Point"
2016 Heartbeat Beth and Emily Episode: "Twins"
2016–2019 Jane the Virgin Darci Factor Recurring role
2016, 2019 Queen of the South Brenda Main role (Season 1); 13 episodes
Guest role (Season 4); 2 episodes
2017–present One Day at a Time Penelope Alvarez Main role; 45 episodes
Nominated - Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series
2019 Family Pictures Sylvie Television film
Superstore Maya 3 episodes: "Trick-or-Treat", "Shoplifter Rehab", "Negotiation"
2020 Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant on season 29

Voice rolesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2016–2019 Elena of Avalor Carmen Recurring role; 9 episodes
2016 Gears of War 4 Reyna Diaz Video game
2020 Harley Quinn Bethany Episode: "Pizza"

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Stated on Finding Your Roots, January 28, 2020
  2. ^ a b c d e "Justina M. Machado, Actress". Sweet Home Cook County. Cook County Clerk. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  3. ^ a b c Fernandez, Maria Elena (6 January 2017). "One Day at a Time's Justina Machado on Getting Her First Leading TV Role, Fidel Castro, and Her Low-Budget Quinceañera". Vulture.
  4. ^ Young, Taiia Smart (6 January 2017). "Exclusive: 'One Day at a Time' Has The Power to Change Latinos on TV Forever". Latina.
  5. ^ a b Topel, Fred (8 January 2017). "Justina Machado talks taking a comedic turn for Norman Lear's 'One Day At A Time' remake". Screener.
  6. ^ a b Crowder, Courtney (2 October 2013). "Justina Machado works hard at laughs on new sitcom". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ Keaney, Quinn (5 January 2017). "The One Day at a Time Reboot Has 2 Secret Weapons: Justina Machado and Gloria Calderon Kellett". Popsugar.
  8. ^ S6 E6: Justina Machado African Ancestry | Finding Your Roots, retrieved 2020-02-29
  9. ^ https://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/watch/episodes/secrets-lies
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (7 October 2016). "'Jane The Virgin': Justina Machado To Recur On Season 3 Of the CW Series". Deadline Hollywood.
  11. ^ Feinberg, Daniel (3 January 2017). "'One Day at a Time': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (28 August 2019). "Superstore Season 5: Justina Machado to Recur, SNL's Heidi Gardner Also Cast". TVLine. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  13. ^ Lenker, Maureen Lee (May 22, 2019). "Original 'The Jeffersons' cast member made surprise cameo on 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  14. ^ Bennett, Anita; Andreeva, Nellie (December 11, 2019). "Woody Harrelson & Marisa Tomei Among 4 Returning For ABC's 'All In the Family' Live Special, 3 New Stars Join". Deadline.
  15. ^ ""Dancing with the Stars" 2020 Celebrity Cast Announced!". ABC.com. September 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Vittes, Laurence (7 February 2008). "Theater Reviews: Some Girl(s)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ "Photo Flash: Justina Machado Joins IN THE HEIGHTS". BroadwayWorld. 30 June 2009.
  18. ^ Ng, David (3 June 2010). "Nancy Travis, Conchata Ferrell to join 'Love, Loss and What I Wore' at Geffen Playhouse". Los Angeles Times.

External linksEdit