Michelle Rodriguez was born in San Antonio, Texas. Carmen Milady Rodriguez is Dominican, while her father, Rafael Rodriguez, is Puerto Rican and served in the United States Army. Rodriguez and her mother relocated to the Dominican Republic when she was eight years old; and she stayed there until she was eleven years old. She later relocated to Puerto Rico until she was 17 years old, and then to Jersey City, New Jersey.
She dropped out of William L. Dickinson High School but went on to complete her GED. She was kicked out of five different schools in total. She attended business school for a short time before dropping out to pursue a career as an actress; with the ultimate goal of becoming a screenwriter and director. Rodriguez has ten brothers and sisters, as well as half-brothers and sisters. She was grown up as a Jehovah’s Witness, but she has since abandoned the church and was partly nurtured; by her devoutly religious maternal grandmother.
Rise to Stardom
Rodriguez overcame 350 other hopefuls to gain her first role in the low-budget independent film Girlfight in 2000; after seeing an ad for an open casting call and going to her first audition. Rodriguez received numerous awards and nominations for her portrayal of Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to be a boxer, including major acting honours from the National Board of Review, Deauville Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Las Vegas Film Critics Sierra Awards, and others. The film itself won a Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Film Festival’s Award of the Youth.
Rodriguez has also starred in films such as The Fast and the Furious (2001). Blue Crush and S.W.A.T. were two other films in which she appeared.