Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York among eight siblings including her twin sister Lorraine, Lauren Velez dreamed of becoming an actress ever since she played a groundhog in a school play in second grade. Immediately following high school, she received a scholarship from the Alvin Ailey Dance School which led to her first job performing in the national touring company of the musical "Dreamgirls". Later she became understudy for actress Phylicia Rashad in Broadway's "Into the Woods". Her most visible role was that of "Nina Moreno" on the cop drama "New York Undercover" (1994). With her varied performances and Afro-Latin background and appearance, Velez's success is considered -- by fans and critics alike -- a breakthrough for Latina actresses who do not fit the stereotypical "Europeanized Hollywood" version of Latin females. As a result, Velez deservedly has a large multi-ethnic following.IMDb Mini Biography By: L. J. Allen-2
Velez was born in Brooklyn and later grew up in Queens, New York with her eight siblings, including twin sister, actress Lorraine Velez. Velez's aspirations began to transition into reality when both Velez and her twin sister, Lorraine ("Rent"), were awarded scholarships to attend Alvin Ailey Dance School. Velez continued refining her craft by studying acting at The Acting Studio and learning Shakespeare with Michael Howard.
Since her television debut in "New York Undercover", Velez's acting career highlights include eight ALMA Award nominations including one win for the role of Gloria Nathan on the HBO series 'Oz".
Velez won a Vision Award in 2007 for Best Actress in "Dexter" as well as a NCLR Bravo Award for "New York Undercover" and a nomination for "City Hall" with Al Pacino. She was also recognized for her breakout role in "I Like It Like That" with an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
While on hiatus from filming "Dexter", Velez starred and produced a one woman show at the historic Colony Theatre in Miami as Cuba's national treasure Victoria Guadalupe Yoli ("La Lupe"); the artistic renegade who was banished from Cuba and later became the lead singer in Tito Puente's band in New York City.
|Mark Gordon||(1993 - present)|
Has an identical twin sister, Lorraine, who often plays doubles for her on sets. Her twin has taken over roles for her on Broadway and who is currently (2001) starring in London on the West End stage in RENT.
Twin sister of Loraine Velez.
Considered for the role of "Hallie" in Scream 2, she was even credited as playing the character in the fictional "Stab 2" (a film within in film) on the The Scream special edition DVD.
She won her first acting award during the Long Island Film Expo Festival 2006 for the feature film, Serial: Best Supporting Actress award. 
One of three actors to star in the television series Dexter and Oz, along with David Zayas and Erik King.
Studied acting with Michael Howard in New York City.
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