New Yorkers: Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson, Born and Raised in New York City

It was a slight case of art imitating life when Rosario Dawson starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rent. Her character, Mimi Marquez, had to deal with poor living conditions, just like Dawson did growing up in New York City. The Puerto Rican/Cuban American actress and political activist’s mom moved the family into an abandoned building squat on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when Dawson was 21, where she and her husband renovated an apartment and installed the plumbing and electrical wiring for the building, creating affordable housing where Rosario and her brother Clay would grow up. Dawson has cited this part of her family history when explaining how she learned that "If you wanted something better, you had to do it yourself."

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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.