...and in this corner...
You've seen her in film but perhaps missed her name. She was the smoking hot love interest of Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. She was a girl on a mission in Resident Evil, a sulfurous tempered zombie killing machine. She looks great in swat gear, and less. She's Michelle Rodriguez. Get used to hearing the name.
Born on July 12, 1978 in Bexar County, Texas. Her mother is Carmen Milady (neé Pared), of the Dominican Republic. He father was Rafael Rodriguez, of Puerto Rican extraction. Mr. Rodriguez served in the military, creating a mobile existence for Michelle, her twin older brothers Raul and Omar, and parents. The family moved to the Dominican Republic when Michelle was about eight. Two years later the family migrated to Puerto Rico, then jumped back to the US, landing in Jersey City, New Jersey when Michelle was age 11. Her upbringing was an study in contrasts, with her being raised as a Jehovah's Witness/ military brat. She got an early start on her tough girl image, getting booted out of 5 schools before dropping out of high school altogether. She eventually earned her GED and briefly attended business school before dropping out to pursue acting full time.
Come out swinging
Michelle had gotten a couple gigs as an extra, then saw an ad in Backstage Magazine for an open casting call. She, along with 350 other girls, responded to that ad. Following a number of trials and months of training in boxing, Michelle landed the female lead in Girlfight. The role is that of Diana Guzman, a young woman with issues concerning authority who deals with her aggression through boxing. The film received critical acclaim and earned Michelle attention as an up-and-coming talent.
Despite her less than lustrous education she had learned to strike while the iron is hot. She landed roles in 3 AM and the summer blockbuster The Fast and the Furious, the latter film becoming the breakout role for both her and co-star Vin Diesel. She followed up next year with work in Resident Evil, proving you can be hot and lethal without really trying.
Michelle stayed busy, working in Blue Crush (2002) and Control (2003).
Having made her mark on Hollywood, Michelle discovered TV, joining the cast of ABC's Lost. She put ink to a one year deal rather than a long term commitment, citing her nomadic spirit.
Fame has its price
Michelle must have been a very good boxing student. In 2002 she was implicated in beating up her female room mate. Charges were dropped when the alleged victim chose not to testify against Rodriguez.
I fought the law and the law won
Michelle didn't possess a driver's license when she was tapped to work on The Fast and the Furious, and had to acquire one while learning to do the stunt driving. It is ironic that driving has proven to be an area of some challenge for the young actress. She had been charged in Los Angeles with multiple misdemeanors (2003), eventually pleading no contest to DUI, hit and run, and driving on a suspended license. She received 48 hours in jail, community service, and 3 years probation. In Hawaii, while working on Lost, she received multiple tickets for speeding and DUI. As for the disposition of the speeding tickets, Rodriguez paid the fines. Initially pleading not guilty on the DUI charge, on the day of trial she changed her plea and was convicted of one count of DUI, fined $500 and given 5 days in jail. She had been given the option of community service rather than jail time but opted for time in the clink.
The problems in Hawaii of course caused her to be in violation of her probation agreement in LA. Complicating matters was the discovery that Rodriguez had falsely claimed fulfillment of her 30 hour community service commitment to California. During the time she claimed to be working off her debt to society she was actually in New York. She also tested positive for alcohol while wearing a court mandated ankle bracelet/ alcohol sensor. The LA judge was not a happy camper. Rodriguez has been sentenced to 180 days in jail and must complete 30 days community service. She is currently on location in New Zealand, filming in James Cameron's upcoming Avatar. Rodriguez is required to return to the states by December 24, 2007 to begin serving her sentence.
On the cusp
The young actress has made some poor decisions in her brief time in the spotlight. She has a reputation of being tardy for work, gives really great attitude, and has been fodder for the scandal sheets for her amorous activities. She has been accused of being a lesbian, an allegation she neither publicly refutes nor accepts. Rodriguez must really have made the big time as the scandal rags don't bother trashing the insignificant. Hopefully she will be equal to the ultimate challenge, that of mastering herself.
2007 The Battle in Seattle
2006 The Breed
2005 Sian Ka'an
2005 IGPX (Anime Series)
2005 Lost: Season 02
2002 Resident Evil
2002 Blue Crush
2001 3 A.M.
2001 The Fast and the Furious
2000 FilmFest, Vol. 5