December 28, 1980
Brooklyn, New York, United States
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Vanessa Ferlito has gone from NYC dance floors to L.A. film sets with her tough Brooklyn charm intact. Raised by her mother and stepfather, Ferlito started modeling in her teens and began throwing parties in the '90s NY club scene. Her dreams of singing eventually turned to acting and in 2001 she landed her first role on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007), which she followed up with a supporting role in the thriller "On_Line" (2002). An Italian-American often cast as a Latina, Ferlito soon discovered her love of traveling and need for variety meant finding a balance between TV and film work. In 2004 she left her role as a drug kingpin's girlfriend on "24" (FOX, 2001-2010) to appear opposite Tommy Lee Jones in "Man of the House" (2005), which led to her being cast in Quentin Tarantino's 2007 grindhouse homage "Death Proof." From 2004-06 the strict vegetarian and animal rights supporter appeared as a forensic investigator on the long-running "CSI: NY" (CBS, 2004- ), and she later portrayed a feisty girlfriend in "Nothing Like the Holidays" (2008); a corporate ally in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010); and an undercover FBI agent in the USA drama "Graceland" (2013-15). She may not have had a plan but Vanessa Ferlito has found all the success she dreamed of.Ferlito grew up hanging out in her mother's Brooklyn hair salon and dreaming of stardom. A brief modeling stint with the Wilhelmina agency in the mid-'90s brought her into the glamorous downtown New York City club scene, where she quickly began hosting parties and attracting attention. Encouraged to get an agent after she appeared in a cover story in New York Magazine, Ferlito transitioned to acting and in 2001 landed her debut role on "The Sopranos;" it would turn out to be the one of her few roles that drew upon her native Italian-American heritage. Her sultry looks next found her playing an Internet adult film star in "On_Line," and a drug czar's trophy girlfriend on the third season of "24." After leaving Jack Bauer and Co. in 2004, Ferlito was cast as hotheaded investigator Aiden Burn on the popular "CSI: NY," where she stayed for nearly two years before moving on to portray a cheerleader under witness protection in 2005's "Man of the House." In a lucky break, Quentin Tarantino paid a visit to the set one day and became so enamored of the freewheeling actress that he cast her as the brazen Arlene in "Death Proof," whose iconic lap dance with Kurt Russell was cut from the original theatrical release but later restored on DVD. In 2008, a year after giving birth to son Vince, Ferlito was featured in the ensemble family drama "Nothing Like the Holidays," and later appeared in the critically-acclaimed "Julie & Julia" (2009). After a supporting role opposite Shia LaBeouf in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," Ferlito joined the cast of USA's edgy "Graceland" (2013-15) as Catherine "Charlie" DeMarco, an FBI agent who goes deep undercover.