Mayte Michelle Rodríguez is an American actress. Following her breakout role in Girlfight (2000), she has played tough girls and starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fast and the Furious (2001), Resident Evil (2002), S.W.A.T.(2003), Avatar (2009) and Fast & Furious (2009), Machete (2010), Battle: Los Angeles (2011), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), Fast and Furious 6 (2013), and Machete Kills (2013). She is also known for her role as Ana Lucia Cortez in the second season of the television series Lost (2005–2010).
Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother, Carmen Milady (née Pared Espinal), is a native of the Dominican Republic, and her father, Rafael Rodriguez, is Puerto Rican and 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 a Jehovah's Witness (her mother's religion), though she has since abandoned that faith.
Rodriguez moved to the Dominican Republic with her mother when she was eight and lived there until the age of eleven, later settling in Jersey City, New Jersey. She dropped out of high school but later earned her GED; in total she was expelled from five schools. Rodriguez briefly attended business school before quitting to pursue a career in acting, with the ultimate goal of becoming a writer and director.
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. In 2002, she had a cameo appearance in Ja Rule's music video for his song Always On Time.
Subsequently, she has had notable roles in other successful movies, including The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil, Blue Crush, andS.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 theCartoon 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 The Lie in 2009 and 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.
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 starred in James Cameron's high-budget sci-fi adventure film Avatar, which was released to theaters on December 18, 2009. The film became the highest-grossing film in history and Rodriguez's most successful film to date. She has also expressed interest in returning for the film's two sequels.
She starred in 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, the same year.
In 2010, Rodriguez appeared in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, which also co-starred Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro and Steven Seagal. The film was opened to mostly positive reviews and earned $44 million in the box-office on a $10 million budget. In 2011, she appeared with Aaron Eckhart in the science fiction film Battle: Los Angeles which grossed over $200 million in the worldwide box office.
As of July 20, 2010, Rodriguez's films have grossed $1,272,734,719 in the United States and $3,686,521,043 worldwide. In 2012, Michelle returned in Resident Evil: Retribution to play the good clone and bad clone of Rain Ocampo. In 2013, she will reprise her role as Leticia Letty Ortiz in Fast Six. In 2013, Rodriguez will appear in Robert Rodriguez's film Machete Kills.
Following her debut in Girlfight, Rodriguez has consistently portrayed tough girl, tomboyish characters that operate in traditional male fields such as the police force or armed forces, and then dies. Rodriguez says that she does not mind the typecasting, and in fact, is somewhat responsible for it:
Several 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 ranked No.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.
A DNA test of Rodriguez, performed by the television program Finding Your Roots, on PBS, stated that her ancestry is 72.4% European, 21.3% African, and 6.3% Native American. She also stated on the program that there was some racial conflict between her families since her Puerto Rican father, Rafael, was light-skinned, and her Dominicanmother, Carmen, had a dark complexion.
In early 2000, Rodriguez broke off a near engagement to a Muslim boyfriend, citing opposition to religious requests he asked of her.She has since dated or reportedly been linked with her Fast and the Furious co-star Vin Diesel, and SWAT co-star Olivier Martinez.
In July 2006, Rodriguez told UK's Cosmopolitan magazine that she was not lesbian, 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.
In June 2007, the lesbian magazine Curve ran a cover story that claimed Rodriguez to be bisexual. Rodriguez criticized the magazine for this, asserting that the magazine put words in (her) mouth. She again stated that she was not a lesbian in a November 2008 interview in the Dominican women's magazine Cayena.
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 pleadedno 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 serviceat 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 onOahu 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 was pulled over 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, 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, California, on December 23, 2007, Rodriguez was released eighteen days later on January 9, 2008, due to overcrowding.