Vélez at a 2009 Golden Globe afterparty
Born November 2, 1964 (age 48)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Years active 1994–present
Lauren Vélez (born November 2, 1964) is an American actress and the twin sister of actress Loraine Vélez. Her most notable roles are as María LaGuerta on Dexter, Detective Nina Moreno on Fox’s New York Undercover, Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO’s prison drama, Oz, and Elena on ABC’s comedy-drama, Ugly Betty.
Vélez’s parents moved from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s and lived in the Brooklyn borough of New York City where she and her twin sister were born. Their father was a New York City police officer who eventually bought a house in the middle-class neighborhood of Rockaway, Queens, and moved there with his wife and eight children. The sisters enjoyed setting up improvised plays and acting for the family since childhood. Vélez once played the part of a groundhog in a second grade school play, after which she decided to be an actress.
After graduating from high school, the twins both received scholarships to attend the Alvin Ailey Dancing School. They also studied acting at The Acting Studio with James Price, and Lauren studied Shakespeare with Michael Howard.
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