Mayte Michelle Rodriguez (born July 12, 1978) is an American actress. Her breakout role was as a troubled boxer in the independent film Girlfight (2000), which was met with critical acclaim and earned her several awards, including the Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award for Best Debut Performance. The following year, she starred as Letty Ortiz in the blockbuster film The Fast and the Furious (2001), a role she has reprised in five additional films in the Fast & Furious franchise. During her career, Rodriguez has played in a number of successful action films, including Resident Evil, S.W.A.T., and Avatar.
Rodriguez also branched into television, playing Ana Lucia Cortez in the second season of the television series Lost. She has also had numerous voice work appearances in video games such as Call of Duty and Halo, and lent her voice for the 3D animated film Turbo and the television series IGPX. With her films grossing over $5 billion (U.S.) collectively, a 2013 Entertainment Weekly article described Rodriguez as “arguably the most iconic actress in the action genre, as well as one of the most visible Latinas in Hollywood”.
Film and television
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.
Rodriguez has had notable roles in other successful movies, including Letty in The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Rain Ocampo in Resident Evil (2002). She also appeared in Blue Crush and S.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 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 during the first season’s finale, “Exodus: Part 1”), and returned for a cameo in the second episode of the show’s fifth season, “The Lie”, in 2009. She returned 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, Rodriguez appeared in the political drama Battle in Seattle opposite Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson. In 2009, she appeared in Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of The Fast and the Furious film series. Later that year, Rodriguez starred in James Cameron’s high-budget sci-fi adventure epic Avatar, which became the highest-grossing film in history and Rodriguez’s most successful film to date. In 2009, Rodriguez also starred in Trópico de Sangre, an independent film based on the Dominican Republic’s historic Mirabal sisters.
In 2010, Rodriguez appeared in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. In 2011, she appeared with Aaron Eckhart in the science fiction film Battle: Los Angeles which grossed over US$200 million in the worldwide box office. In 2012, she returned to play the good clone and bad clone of Rain Ocampo in Resident Evil: Retribution. In 2013, she reprised her roles as Letty in Fast & Furious 6 and Luz / Shé in the Robert Rodriguez sequel Machete Kills. She also voiced a character in DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo.
In 2015, she appeared in Furious 7 which grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. In 2016 she starred in The Assignment alongside Sigourney Weaver. In 2017, she lent her voice to Smurfs: The Lost Village. She also starred in The Fate of the Furious, which broke records for the largest global box office opening of all-time. In 2018, she starred opposite Viola Davis in Widows from award-winning director Steve McQueen, and in 2019 will reunite with director James Cameron, who produces her film Alita: Battle Angel.