Mayte Michelle Rodriguez (born July 12, 1978),known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress. Following on from her breakthrough role in 2000’s Girlfight, she has become best-known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as 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 (2005–2006, 2009–2010).
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 siblings and half-siblings. She was partly raised by her devoutly religious maternal grandmother and was brought up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses (her mother’s religion), though she has since abandoned that specific faith. Rodriguez moved to 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 director.