New Yorkers: Rosie Perez
Rosie Perez, Born in Brooklyn and Raised in Queens
New York City native Rosie Perez had different career aspirations growing up. She actually wanted to be a marine biologist and only got into acting by accident when director Spike Lee spotted her in a nightclub and hired her for the 1989 film Do the Right Thing. The Puerto Rican dancer/actress appeared on 21 Jump Street and served as the choreographer for In Living Color, a role that earned her three Emmy nominations. She’d later become a bona fide star after starring in 1992’s White Men Can't Jump and earn an Academy Award nomination for her performance in 1993’s Fearless. But Perez hasn’t overlooked her past. The community activist serves as the chair of the artistic board for Urban Arts Partnership, a New York City arts education nonprofit that uses arts integrated education programs to close the achievement gap.