Yaya DaCosta

Born Camara DaCosta Johnson but known as Yaya DaCosta, she’s a model and actress. Some fans may recognize her from Cycle 3 of “America’s Next Top Model,” where she was a runner-up, though others may know her from her role as Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic. Most recently, she landed on the “Chicago Fire” spinoff “Chicago Med.”

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Yaya DaCosta is a beautiful blend of African-American, Brazilian and Nigerian ancestry. She can also speak Portuguese, French, Spanish, English and some conversational Japanese. “I feel at home in a lot of places, but I am truly an African-American.”

She said in an interview with looktothestars.org, “I was raised in a poor (by U.S.A. standards) family in a rough neighborhood in New York City, but I didn’t know I wasn’t well off for a long time, because my parents gave us top-notch educations and taught us that our privilege was defined not by money, but by the love in our lives and by the simple things we enjoyed that poor people in very poor countries couldn’t (food, shelter, childhood etc.).”

Yaya DaCosta attended Brown University where she majored in Africana Studies and International Relations.

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In 2008, she made her Off-Broadway debut in "The First Breeze of Summer" at The Signature Theater.

She has been married to movie producer and director Joshua Bee Alafia since 2012. In 2013, she gave birth to their son.

She also practices gratitude. “Happiness is the bomb cosmetic! When I’m smiling, sometimes I’m giving thanks for all the things I have, rather than worrying about the things I don’t...I try to make my mood uplifting and peaceful then watch the world around me reflect that mood.”

In March 2015, rumors spread across Facebook of her death, but it was a hoax. Yaya DaCosta currently resides in New York City.

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