"I grew up believing that if you wanted to be a movie star, you did that!"
On the verge of her breakthrough, Rosa Blasi has learned it takes more. She is the kind of actress who without a doubt leaves many in tears - whether it is from laughing or crying. In her outstanding and award winning performances, she can capture the exact emotion that reaches the public and touches their hearts. The only thing missing... is a given opportunity.
Rosa Blasi started acting at the tender age of eight. She appeared in over 40 professional theater productions before making her move to Los Angeles, where she worked as a nanny and a waitress. It was quite a struggle until her debut on TV as a guest star on the soap opera The Bold And The Beautiful. Rosa is thankful for what is referred to as the 'Latin Invasion': "Finally, being named Rosa and the way I look paid off to advantage in Hollywood, when, you know, six years ago when I first moved out they were like: What about changing your name to Renee? That sounds like Rosa!"
Eventually it became clear to her that staying true to herself (and her name) was the only thing she could do. "Look, if the producers are looking for a blonde, and I'm sitting there with four real blondes, and I have my hair dyed, the real blonde is probably going to get it. So you are who you are."
After a few guest appearances she got a starring role in the MTV/UPN comedy Hitz, establishing her full-time acting career. "It was never going to win any awards, but, God bless it, it allowed me to buy my first house!" she comments. In addition, it allowed more guest roles, on well known series as Frasier, Becker and a special web-cast of The Drew Carey Show.
In 2000, she got her first drama role in the film Noriega: God's Favorite, which led her to audition for the role of dr. Luisa "Lu" Delgado on Strong Medicine; quite a transition. "I had a fear of making a fool of myself, going in to try to be a doctor - who is older than me, who is a single mom - when I'd been doing sitcom, where you walk across the set in a short skirt and make a joke."
However, her performance brought success. "She walked in and she was the part," says Strong Medicine creator and co-executive producer Tammy Ader. "They have given me the freedom to play her as myself," Rosa says. "She's a character very, very much full of life, full of flaws - which is the best part - constantly putting her foot in her mouth and thinking for the now, not the future. It's very, very, very close. It's too close!"
From April to approximately November, Rosa works for about 60 hours a week on the set of Strong Medicine in LA. When she's not working, she now spends as much time as she can in New Jersey with her husband Jim Finn, a fullback for the New York Giants and one of the few Ivy League graduates playing in the NFL today. Jim and Rosa got engaged in Maui and exchanged vows almost a year later on Valentine's Day 2004, during a four-day-event there.
Only a few days after their wedding, Jim and Rosa went off to Japan, to what could mean the beginning of Rosa's breakthrough in film. Working with stars as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr and Clea DuVall, and with Bill Pullman portraying her husband, she got a part in an American remake of the Japanese horror film Ju-On, The Grudge. However, her character Maria ended up having an appearance in only two scenes of the actual film. While Rosa jokes about being the star of the DVD's deleted scenes, she tries her best not to be disappointed.
Hopefully, it won't take long until Rosa's dreams come true. Though which will come first for her; expanding her career and audience by a starring role on the big screen.. or a new star expanding the family?
- She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, but lives with her husband in New Jersey when she's not working. From August to November she travels there every weekend when shes working and goes back to work in LA during the week.
- Rosa's height is about 5'2"
- She was Miss Rockford 1993 (Swimsuit Preliminary) and Miss Chicago 1994, and a finalist in the Miss Illinois pageants of both years. Her talent for the Miss Chicago 1994 pageant was singing "I'd give my life for you" from Miss Saigon; a clip can be found at the media gallery.
- Rosa won a Gracie Allen Award (best actress in a drama), Imagen Award (best actress in a drama), Shine Award, Epic Award, Spirit Award and an PRISM Award, and was nominated for several ALMA Awards.
- Her younger sister Tasha is a high school biology teacher in Santa Monica.
- Her younger brother Rocky graduated from Illinois State University.
- Her father Rocco is Italian and knows 8 languages, her mother Joyce is black Latina/Irish.
- Jim and Rosa like to watch TV together; Rosa once joked that their Tivo is the third person in their relationship.
- Rosa loves mosaic; "Like a freak, I created, and laid every piece of a mosaic tile in over 250 square feet in my first house, and laid two rooms of tile, and a mosaic sun on a balcony in this house!" (note: that was before she moved to her third house in the summer of 2002.)
- She lists 'car wrecking' as a special skill and admits she's not the best driver in the world: "I'm a small woman and I drive a big car."
- She can understand Italian (when reading, mainly.)
- Rosa has two large dogs: Beau, a 7-year-old Weimaraner, and Jake, a 200 lb. English Mastiff, named after the hottie from the film Sixteen Candles, Jake Ryan.
- Her friends - besides her colleagues on the set - include Sean Hayes, Kristin Datillo and Allison Dunbar.
- Rosa has had piano classes for 5 years, dancing classes for 5 years, and voice training for 13 years.
- She went to Columbia College, University of Kansas and Northern Illinois University and was trained at Second City Conservatory, Piven Performance Company and Marsha Pauldons Touring Co.
- Rosa's acting coaches are Glenn F. Haines (Chicago) and Leigh Kilton-Smith (LA.)
- Rosa has a very nice website of her own put together with more information about herself and tons of pictures of herself www.rosablasi.com.