Roots: Puerto Rican.

Resume: “Held Up,” and TV gigs on sudser “As the World Turns” and “Fame LA”

Next up: “Rush Hour II,” with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan; also nabbed a stint as the official Mountain Dew spokes gal: Commercials are slated to air May 31

Influences: Meryl Streep, Rita Moreno

Childhood dream: She wanted to be a professional figure skater, “But there were no ice rinks in Puerto Rico!”

First U.S. job: As a restaurant hostess in Gotham. “I starred in a popular comedy sketch show in Puerto Rico called ‘Que Vacilon,’ so I thought I would quickly be come a star in the U.S. I was wrong, and broke, and to make matters worse, my English was awful.”

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