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Michelle Rodriguez

Mayte Michelle Rodriguez[1] (born July 12, 1978)[2][3] is an American actress. 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[4] and Gotham Award for Best Debut Performance.[5] The following year, she starred as Letty in the blockbuster film The Fast and the Furious (2001), a role she has reprised in four additional films in the Fast and Furious franchise. During her career, Rodriguez has played in a number of successful action films, including Resident Evil, S.W.A.T., and Avatar.

Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez Dec 2009.jpg
Rodriguez in 2009
Born Mayte Michelle Rodriguez
(1978-07-12) July 12, 1978 (age 39)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 2000–present
Website Official website

Rodriguez also branched into television, playing Ana Lucia Cortez in the second season of the television series Lost. She has also had numerous voice work appearances 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.[6] 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".[7]


Early lifeEdit

Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas.[8][3] 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.[9][3][10] Rodriguez moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother when she was eight years old and lived there until age 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.[11] In total, she was expelled from five schools.[12] She briefly attended business school before quitting to pursue a career in acting, with the ultimate goal of becoming a screenwriter and director.[13]

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.[14][15] 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.[16] 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 televisionEdit

Rodriguez at the New York Fashion Week in 2006

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,[17] 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,[18] Independent Spirit Awards,[4] Gotham Awards,[5] Las Vegas Film Critics Sierra Awards, and many others. The film itself took home a top prize at the Sundance[19] and won Award of the Youth at the Cannes Film Festival.

Rodriguez has had notable roles in other successful movies, including Letty 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..[20] In 2004, Rodriguez lent her voice to the video game Halo 2, playing a Marine.[21] She also provided the voice of Liz Ricarro in the Cartoon Network series IGPX.[6] From 2005 to 2006, she played tough cop Ana Lucia Cortez[22] 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.[23]

In 2008, Rodriguez appeared in the political drama Battle in Seattle opposite Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson.[24] In 2009, she appeared in Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of The Fast and the Furious film series.[25][26] Later that year, Rodriguez starred in James Cameron's high-budget sci-fi adventure epic Avatar, which became the highest-grossing film in history and Rodriguez's most successful film to date. In 2009, Rodriguez also starred in Trópico de Sangre, an independent film based on the Dominican Republic's historic Mirabal sisters.[27][28]

From left to right, Rodriguez, Jonathan Liebesman and Aaron Eckhart at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International

In 2010, Rodriguez appeared in Robert Rodriguez's Machete.[29] 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 roles as Letty in Fast & Furious 6 and Luz / Shé in the Robert Rodriguez sequel Machete Kills. She also voiced a character in DreamWorks Animation's Turbo.[30]

In 2015, she appeared in Furious 7 which grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide.[31] In 2017, she lent her voice to Smurfs: The Lost Village. She also starred in The Fate of the Furious, which broke records for the largest global box office opening of all-time.[32] She'll next be reunited with director James Cameron for Alita: Battle Angel and star opposite Viola Davis in Widows from award-winning director Steve McQueen.[33][34]


As of 2013, Rodriguez stated she was working on several projects including a family adventure film, a drug drama, and a female-oriented period piece.[35]

Personal lifeEdit

Rodriguez's hobbies include tactical gun training,[36] skydiving,[37] and DJing.[38]


Rodriguez in 2013 at San Diego Comic Con

In early 2000, Rodriguez broke off an engagement to a Muslim boyfriend, citing opposition to religious requests he made of her.[39] She has since reportedly dated actors Vin Diesel,[40] Olivier Martinez[41] and Zac Efron, and model Cara Delevingne.[42]

In 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."[7] As she explained 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."[43] The following year, 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."[44] 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."[45]

Legal issuesEdit

In March 2002, Rodriguez was arrested for assault after getting into a fight with her roommate, but charges were later dropped after the roommate declined to press the allegations in court.[46] 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).[47] 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.[48] 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.[49]

In 2005, while filming Lost in Hawaii, Rodriguez was pulled over by Honolulu police multiple times for speeding violations and on December 1 she was arrested for DUI.[50][51] In April 2006, she pleaded guilty to one charge of driving under the influence and chose to pay a US$500 fine and spend five days in jail.[48] She cited her high doses of allergy-relieving steroids as part of the reason for her erratic behavior.[52] Because the 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.[53] Because of overcrowding, she was released from jail on the same day she entered.

In September 2007, Rodriguez allegedly violated her probation by not completing her community service and not following an alcohol education program. Her lawyer claimed it was a clerical error.[54] 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, but she was released eighteen days later due to overcrowding.[55]

In January 2009, Rodriguez completed her community service.[56]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Girlfight Diana Guzman
2001 Fast and the Furious, TheThe Fast and the Furious Letty Ortiz
2001 3 A.M. Salgado
2002 Resident Evil Rain Ocampo
2002 Blue Crush Eden
2003 S.W.A.T. Officer Chris Sanchez
2004 Control Teresa
2005 BloodRayne Katarin
2006 Breed, TheThe Breed Nicki
2007 Battle in Seattle Lou
2008 Gardens of the Night Lucy
2009 Fast & Furious Letty
2009 Los Bandoleros Short film
2009 Avatar Captain Trudy Chacon
2010 Machete Luz/Shé
2010 Trópico de Sangre Minerva Mirabal
2011 Battle: Los Angeles Technical Sergeant Elana Santos
2012 Resident Evil: Retribution Rain Ocampo[57]
2013 InAPPropriate Comedy Harriet
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Letty
2013 Turbo Paz Voice
2013 Machete Kills Luz/Shé
2015 Furious 7 Letty
2016 The Assignment Frank Kitchen / Tomboy
2016 Milton's Secret Ms. Ferguson
2017 Smurfs: The Lost Village Smurf Storm[58] Voice
2017 The Fate of the Furious Letty
2018 Alita: Battle Angel Gelda Post-production
2018 Widows Linda Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Slavi's Show Herself TV show (1 episode)
2005 Punk'd Herself 1 episode
2005–06 Immortal Grand Prix Liz Ricarro 26 episodes
Voice: English version
Lost Ana Lucia Cortez Guest (season 1)
Main cast (season 2)
Special guest star (season 5 & 6): 22 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"

Music videosEdit

Year Title Artist
2000 "I Can Do Too"[59] Cole featuring Queen Latifah
2001 "Always on Time" Ja Rule and Ashanti
2002 "If I Could Fall in Love"[60] Lenny Kravitz
2015 "Confident" Demi Lovato

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role
2003 True Crime: Streets of LA Rosie Velasco
2004 Driv3r Calita
2004 Halo 2 Marine
2009 James Cameron's Avatar: The Game Captain Trudy Chacon
2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Strike Force Soldier

Theme park rideEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Fast & Furious: Supercharged Letty

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Newcomer
Deauville Film Festival Best Female Performance Won
ALMA Award Outstanding Latino Cast in a Feature Film Nominated
Black Reel Award Best Actress Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Debut Performance Won
National Board of Review Award Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress Won
Gotham Award Breakthrough Performance Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Best Actress Nominated
Best Female Newcomer Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
2002 ALMA Award Best Actress in Film
The Fast and the Furious
Outstanding Actor/Actress in a Made for Television Movie or Miniseries
3 A.M.
2002 MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Team (with Kate Bosworth and Sanoe Lake)
Blue Crush
Imagen Foundation Award Best Supporting Actress in a Film
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television Nominated
2006 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress
2009 ALMA Award Actress in a Film
Fast & Furious
2011 ALMA Award Favorite Movie Actress-Drama/Adventure
Battle: Los Angeles
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Female
Fast & Furious 6
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action
Furious 7
People's Choice Award Favorite Action Movie Actress Nominated
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action The Fate of the Furious Nominated


  1. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is "Pared" and the second or maternal family name is "Espinal".


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  8. ^ "Race Matters: Michelle Rodriguez Recently Discovered Her Father's Ancestors Practiced Inbreeding To Keep The Fam 'Light And Bright'". June 2, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2017.  citing Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., May 20, 2012, PBS.
  9. ^ Romero, Angie (April 15, 2009). "Michelle Rodriguez: "I Feel Like I'm Being Born Again"". Latina. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ Stated on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., May 20, 2012, PBS
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  28. ^ "La historia de las hermanas Mirabal". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "Michelle Rodriguez Voices 'Turbo' Character For First Animation Gig". July 11, 2013. 
  31. ^ "'Furious 7' Crosses $1 Billion at Worldwide Box Office". April 17, 2015. 
  32. ^ "'Fate of the Furious' races to biggest global box office opening ever". April 17, 2017. 
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  34. ^ "Michelle Rodriguez Joins Steve McQueen's Heist Pic 'Widows'". February 16, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Hollywood actress Michelle Rodriguez reveals upcoming writing projects". May 18, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Actress Michelle Rodriguez Lights Up Tactical Course". October 12, 2016. 
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  51. ^ "Two 'Lost' stars charged with drunken driving". MSNBC. Associated Press. December 2, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2006. 
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  54. ^ Lee, Ken (October 27, 2007). "Michelle Rodriguez Sentenced to Six Months in Jail wow". People. Retrieved February 10, 2008. 
  55. ^ "Michelle Rodriguez out of jail after 18 days". MSNBC. January 10, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008. 
  56. ^ "Michelle Rodriguez Finishes Her Community Service in Stride". Latina. January 6, 2009. 
  57. ^ Miska, Brad (September 22, 2011). "Michelle Rodriguez Returning for Some 'Retribution'!". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Archived from the original on September 24, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  58. ^
  59. ^ "Cole - I Can Do Too". 
  60. ^ "Lenny Kravitz - If I could Fall in Love". 

External linksEdit