• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

October 31, 2005

Rosario Dawson: From Tenement to Tinseltown

Share
Special Offer

Journey to Fame

Dawson's journey to fame began by accident at age 15, while she was sitting on the front stoop of her apartment building. She was talking with a bunch of friends when director Larry Clark, in the neighborhood to scout locations, spotted her ‑- and cast her as the dirty-talking Ruby in his boundary-busting film about teenagers and sex, Kids. "It's not like my mom wasn't aware," Dawson says of her raw portrayal in the film. "My mother got pregnant with me when she was 15. The only thing she didn't want me to do on-screen was smoke a cigarette." More films followed, including Spike Lee's He Got Game, Ed Burns's Sidewalks of New York and Ethan Hawke's Chelsea Walls.

Given that Dawson is Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban on her mother's side and Irish and Native American on her father's (her parents are divorced), one might wonder whether race has been an issue when it comes to landing roles. "Sometimes there's resistance, sometimes there isn't," says Dawson. "It's interesting to see what kinds of scripts I'm sent, what directors think I can pull off. When I got the role of Roxane in Alexander, some people got really upset, like, 'Why did they hire a black girl?' Meanwhile, my friend who is Afghani said, 'You look just like my family, so I don't understand what people are so upset about.' Sometimes people say weird things, like, 'I don't understand why she just doesn't say she's black ‑- Puerto Ricans aren't that brown!'" Dawson sighs. "[Race] wasn't an issue for me until I got older and it became an issue for other people." She credits her family for giving her a deeply rooted sense of self-confidence. "My grandparents and my mom are very powerful people in terms of their values and self-worth," she says. "I've never been told any reason why I couldn't do anything I wanted."


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Celebrity Interviews
Kilo Kish Is Music's Next Bright Thing

"I like making projects that are like time capsules."

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue