Mayte Michelle Rodriguez (born July
12, 1978), known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is a Latin-American
actress, best known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood
blockbusters such as Girlfight (2000); The Fast and the Furious (2001);
Blue Crush (2002); Resident Evil (2002); S.W.A.T. (2003); Fast & Furious
(2009) and James Cameron's Avatar (2009), as well as for her role as Ana
Lucia Cortez in the television series Lost.
Rodriguez was born in Bexar County, Texas, the daughter of Carmen Milady
(née Pared), a native of the Dominican Republic, and Rafael Rodriguez, a
Puerto Rican who served in the United States Army. She has a total of ten
half-siblings or siblings. She was partly raised by her devoutly religious
maternal grandmother and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness (her
mother's religion), though she has since abandoned that specific faith.
Rodriguez moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother when she was
eight and lived in Puerto Rico until the age of eleven, later settling in
Jersey City, New Jersey. She dropped out of high school but later earned
her GED. Rodriguez briefly attended business school before quitting to
pursue a career in acting, with the ultimate goal of becoming a writer and
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.
Subsequently, she has had notable roles in other successful movies,
including The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil, 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 on season 1's finale,
Exodus: Part 1), and returned for a cameo in the second episode of the
show's fifth season in 2009. In 2006, Rodriguez was featured in her own
episode of G4's show Icons.
In 2008, she appeared in Battle in Seattle alongside Charlize Theron.
Rodriguez next appeared in the fourth installment of the The Fast and the
Furious franchise, which was titled simply Fast & Furious and released to
theaters on April 3, 2009. Rodriguez can currently be seen in James
Cameron's big budget sci-fi adventure Avatar, which was released to
theaters on December 18, 2009. She also recently wrapped filming on
Trópico de Sangre, an independent film based on the Dominican Republic's
historic Mirabal sisters who were assassinated in 1960 by the Dominican
dictator Trujillo for opposing his rule.
As of 10 January 2010, Rodriguez's films have grossed $916,296,898 in the
United States and $2,100,145,993 world-wide.[
Rodriguez can next be seen in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, and starring
alongside Aaron Eckhart in the sci-fi film Battle: Los Angeles.
Multiple times over the course of her career, she has been ranked in Stuff
magazine’s "102 Sexiest Women In The World", Maxim’s "100 Sexiest Women",
and People en Español's "50 Más Bellos", and was recently ranked #74 in
FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2009".
Rodriguez is currently working on two screenplays. 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".
In early 2000, Rodriguez broke off a near engagement to a Muslim
boyfriend, citing opposition to religious requirements he demanded of her.
Around 2001, Rodriguez dated Vin Diesel, her co-star from The Fast and the
Furious. In 2003, Rodriguez was photographed sharing a kiss with Kylie
Minogue's boyfriend Olivier Martinez and the two were later spotted
partying together on Puff Daddy's yacht in the south of France.
In 2006, she "had her eye on" Irish actor and S.W.A.T. co-star, Colin
Farrell. In July 2006, Rodriguez told UK's Cosmopolitan magazine that she
was not gay, but had "experimented with both sexes." In November 2006, her
openly bisexual Bloodrayne co-star Kristanna Loken's comments to The
Advocate were widely interpreted and reported by the media as an admission
that the two were in a relationship, though the relationship was never
officially confirmed by either actress, and Loken later married Noah
In early 2007, Rodriguez was again photographed with Olivier Martinez.
This time the two were seen dining together at Chateau Marmont Hotel in
Los Angeles where Martinez was staying, with reports claiming she did not
emerge from the hotel until the following morning. In June 2007, Curve ran
a cover describing her as a "bi bad girl" and considered by many to be
trailing an interview in which Rodriguez would out herself. Rodriguez
never even did an interview with the magazine however, and therefore in
response used her blog to criticize the magazine and express her feelings
on the issue.
In November 2008, during an interview with the Dominican Republic's
women's magazine Cayena, Rodriguez stated that she is not a lesbian.
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 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
$357, paid a $300 fine for driving 90 mph (140 km/h) in a 35 mph (56 km/h)
zone on October 20, was fined $197 for going 80 mph (130 km/h) in a 50 mph
(80 km/h) zone on August 24. On December 1, 2005, Rodriguez and her Lost
co-star Cynthia Watros were pulled over (separately) and arrested for
driving under the influence. 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 $500 fine and
spend five days in jail instead of doing 240 hours of community service.
Rodriguez 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, Rodriguez 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
judge in Los Angeles 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 however, Rodriguez allegedly violated her probation by
not completing her community service and not following an alcohol
education program. It was reported that Rodriguez 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, CA on December
23, 2007, Rodriguez was released 18 days later on January 9, 2008 due to