Mayte Michelle Rodriguez (born July 12, 1978), better known as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress, known for starring in films such as Girlfight, The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil and S.W.A.T. as well as her role in the television series Lost
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. Rodriguez's performance as Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, was recognized by both critics and audiences, but despite major industry buzz of a possible Academy Award nomination, she did not receive the Oscar nod. Rodriguez did however accumulate several other significant 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 top prizes at both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.
Subsequently, she has had notable roles in other successful movies, including S.W.A.T., The Fast and the Furious and Resident Evil. In 2002, she was ranked #77 in Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women In The World,” and #34 in Maxim’s "100 Sexiest Women." That same year, Rodriguez portrayed Eden in the surfer girlpower flick Blue Crush.
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). In 2006, Rodriguez was featured in her own episode of G4's show Icons.
Her latest film, Battle in Seattle, releases in the U.S. in September 2008, and she recently wrapped filming alongside the original cast on the fourth installment of the The Fast and the Furious franchise entitled simply Fast and Furious which releases in June 2009. Rodriguez will then be seen in James Cameron's new $200 million sci-fi adventure Avatar, due out December 18, 2009.
This November, she will begin filming Trópico de Sangre, an independent film she is co-producing with her production company Cheshire Kat Productions, based on the Dominican Republic's historic Mirabal sisters who were assassinated in 1960 by the Dominican dictator for opposing his rule.