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She is a mix of Dominican and Puerto Rican ancestry and was brought up a Jehovahs Witness until she abandoned that faith. When Michelle was eight, she moved with her mother to the Dominican Republic and lived there until she was eleven. Then she moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. She was expelled from five schools and dropped out of high school, but earned her GED. Michelle speaks fluent Spanish.
Aside from work as an extra in Summer of Sam and Cradle Will Rock, Michelle Rodriguezs first role was Girlfight, a role in which she landed from an open audition and subsequently beat out 350 other hopefuls. She told CNN, They call it a cattle call, where a bunch of people are told to go and try out for this movie, basically youre just standing there giving your nameand I guess my pessimistic little PMS attitude paid off.
The film went on to win several accolades. It should be noted, Michelle trained so hard for her role as a female boxer, that her trainers at Gleasons Gym tried to persuade her to go pro.
Michelle followed it up with parts in The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil, Blue Crush, S.W.A.T., Lost and Battle in Seattle, among others.
She said of watching herself on screen, I think its odd for anybody to see themselves on screen. Youre volumized by what? I think its 10 times. Youre watching this giant screenand youre just staring at this big face that youve stared at all your life. But its kind of scary becauseIm not used to that.
Michelle Rodriguez has appeared in Sexiest Lists for Stuff, Maxim and FHM.
She has said, I dont want people to be like, Shes hot looking, you know? I want them to listen to me for what I am saying. And I think the best way to do that is to sniff my armpits, and like, sit and burp every now and then (askmen.com).
Michelle Rodriguez is sometimes known as much for her acting as she is her penchant for getting into trouble (she was pulled over by the Honolulu police several times; arrested for driving under influence; and she violated her probation), as well as her sexuality.
Michelle Rodriguez said while promoting Resident Evil at Comic-Con: I pretty much made a 13-year career doing it. It's either that or try and be sexy, and I didn't like the sexy thing too much, so I just chose c--ty bitch. It worked like a charm, kept me independent, kept my clothes on