Dance was Rutina Wesley's first love while growing up in Las Vegas, NV, where she was born. Rutina's mother was a Las Vegas showgirl and her father is a tap dancer and musician. She graduated in 1997 from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual…more
Rutina is represented by Inspire Entertainment.
Rutina studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. During her college studies, she performed the plays of Romeo and Juliet (as Juliet), MacBeth,The Winter's Tale and Richard III.
Rutina performed a staged reading of A Raisin in the Sun for the LA Theatreworks's Radio Theatre Series
Rutina attended high school at Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts.
Rutina was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Seriesfor her work on True Blood.
Rutina's parents are Ivery Wheeler and Cassandra Wesley. Ivery was a professional dancer and Cassandra was a show girl.
Rutina is married to actor Jacob Fishel, a fellow Juilliard alumni.
Rutina is a member of Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP), a non-profit organization which uses the arts to help children globally.
Interview magazine featured Rutina as a great new talent to watch in October 2004.
Rutina's grandmother suggested that she study nursing, as an alternate occupation, in case she couldn't make a living as an actress. Rutina didn't follow her grandmother's advice.
As a child, Rutina was a baton twirler and took dance lessons.
Rutina is an alumni of a performing arts high school, the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. Fellow alumni include Matthew Gray Gubler, Ne-Yo, Baron Vaughn, and Julianne Hough.
One of Rutina's jobs, while in high school, was busing tables at Roxy's Diner. All the wait staff sing and dance at the 1950's themed restaurant in Las Vegas.
Rutina's first film role was in Will Smith's Hitch in 2005, but her scene was deleted.
Rutina graduated from NYC's Juilliard School of Drama in 2005. Three fellow Juilliard alumni appear in True Blood also; Nelsan Ellis, Carrie Preston and Lynn Collins portray Lafayette Reynolds, Arlene Fowler and Dawn Green respectively.
Rutina appeared on Broadway in the Sam Mendes directed play, The Vertical Hour, from 2006 through 2007.
Rutina: (on where she would like to take her career) I would love to do some rom coms, some action flicks. I don't have expectations because you have to have patience and know that what is yours is yours and it will come when it's time, and you have to hold onto that so you don't get defeated. Each year I look forward to what's ahead for me and I can't predict the future, but I know that there's a lot of things out there that I want and I know that if I'm patient, hopefully they will come.
Rutina: (on becoming an actress) I always loved being on stage. Both of my parents were dancers, so I grew up in the business. When I got to high school, I got to major in both theater and dance. I love playing characters and telling stories and moving audiences. I decided to go to college and focus on acting because you sort of can't do both. My dad was like, "Well don't forget about your feet!" 'cause he's a tap dancer … but I was really excited about acting. It was that performing arts high school that made me into the actor that I am.
Rutina: (on her True Blood character's "death") Well I mean half my head is missing. I'm just gonna keep saying that. You know, it's True Blood. I feel like anything is possible. If anything, it is the golden hour though. If she is able to be saved, it's like she's got 20 seconds. It's not a lot of time. I'm curious to see what they're going to do with all of it. I hope I'm back. But again half my head is missing.
Rutina: (referring to Dame Judi Dench, who Rutina met at Juilliard) She is such an inspiration to me, and just by talking with her, I felt like I could do anything that I put my mind to. She made me believe that being an African-American actress shouldn't limit me from doing all sorts of roles in the theater. For example, in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra has often been played by African-American actresses-but, as Dame Judi said to me, "I could play Cleopatra too."
Rutina: (commenting on moving from Las Vegas to attend college) Indiana doesn't have a lot of minorities, so I was kind of nervous about going there. But the thing about that was that all I could do was focus on my craft. I had no outside distractions.
Rutina: (commenting on her love of performing) I was born to be onstage. I loved storytelling. I was always making up stuff. I feel like that was my path.
Rutina: (on not letting celebrity go to her head) When you're young, it's so easy to get burnt out. I keep reminding myself why I do this: because I love it. I'm here for the work and the stories, not the money and the fame.
Rutina: (when asked about talents) I came out of the womb dancing.