New Yorkers: Melonie Diaz

Melonie Diaz, Raised in New York City's Lower East Side

Melonie Diaz could be considered the Latina indie film queen. The Puerto Rican actress, who was raised in New York City's Lower East Side, has starred in a number of independent films, including four that were shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Diaz, who became interested in acting at the Henry Street Settlement and subsequently attended Manhattan’s Professional Performing Arts School, is currently earning rave reviews for her performance in Fruitvale, a film that just won the the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Diaz recently completed a degree in Film Production at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

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About this author

Miranda Noland,

Miranda Noland is the Senior Photo Editor for She handles all the photo needs for the site and occasionally writes a thing or two. Growing up in a small town in Missouri, she collected (and hoarded) magazines and dreamed of working at one someday. She studied art and design at Drury University and moved to New York City after graduating. She loves being an aunt to her two nephews and has recently moved to be closer to them. She's a pop culture junkie who watches way too much television, and she still hoards magazines.