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Her family later emigrated to New Jersey when she was four. Zulay is named after an Arabic bride her mother read about in the paper.
After she graduated from high school, she spent three years in the U.S. Army. Zulay said, "I went into the army right after high school, and the first day of basic training was really hard. I quickly realized I'd have to change my attitude if I was going to get through it." Of her time in the Army, Zulay recalled, "I did a couple of humanitarian missions to South America, where I worked as a translator in orphanages." While stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, she found time to study at Methodist College.
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Then she enrolled at the New York Conservatory For Dramatic Arts to study acting and stayed for three years. In 2006, Zulay Henao got her break and landed the female lead in "Feel the Noise" opposite Omarion of B2K. Jennifer Lopez was one of the producers on the film.
Zulay has appeared in movies like "Grizzly Park," "Illegal Tender" and "Hostel: Part III." Television roles include stints on "Army Wives" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
In the movie "Fighting" she plays a character also named Zulay. In fact, her character's name was re-named to Zulay because the filmmakers loved it so much. Zulay said in an interview, "[The filmmakers said] your name is really genius, we can't make that up. Would you mind [if we used your name]?"
Zulay said, "The only real fight I've ever been in was when I was 14, and it involved people bullying my younger sister. I remember her coming home crying, so I was like, 'Come on, let's go get them!' My family is my soft spot, and whenever they're in some kind of trouble, I'm there."
She considers herself very religious and loves God. "Faith and love for God allows me to live without fear. This is important to me because when life gets hard and complicated I have someone that won't leave my side and whom I can count on. That is huge."
In 2011, her grandfather passed away. "Losing my grandfather was devastating in many ways. I lost one of my greatest friends and loves. He was one of the most intelligent, strongest, dynamic and kindest people I knew" (nochelatina.com).
Zulay defines sexy "as an attitude. I believe it's quiet, but strong confidence. It's how a woman carries herself."
Zulay splits her time between Los Angeles and New Jersey.
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Zulay Henao was born in Medellin, Columbia to Columbian parents on May 29, 1979.