Aimee Garcia

Photography by Kat Borchart

Aimee Garcia is a rare talent, even by Hollywood standards. Like a handful of starlets who wind up in a lecture hall somewhere along their career – see Natalie Portman, her competition for the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s celebrated Romeo + Juliet – the 32-year -old actress, former Morgan Stanley employee, and dancer has both tested the limelit waters of Los Angeles and sought respite from its plastic waves in academia. What makes Ms. Garcia unique is that each of her endeavors have been approached with an astonishing sense of focus, dedication, and professionalism; she danced in The Nutcracker twenty times a month at the tender age of 12, trained at the renowned Piven Theater in her hometown of Chicago as a teen, and gained notoriety cavorting alongside George Lopez on The George Lopez Show early on in her burgeoning acting career.

When we last caught up with the stunning actress, she was starring in Peter Berg’s thrilling NBC series Trauma as a veteran helicopter pilot. Since then, she’s peppered her already sparkling resume with an even mix of humor and drama; shooting a pilot with Matthew Broderick for the sadly canceled Beach Lane, guest starring on the NBC comedy series Love Bites, and boldly diving into a South African jungle in the ABC medical drama Off the Map. And if we needed further convincing that this rising actress was earnest about each and every one of these professional roles, she returned to her hometown of Chicago to team up with fellow native Carmen Marron to star in the independent dance drama Go For It!, an Audience Award Winner and Official Selection of the 2010 Chicago International Film Festival.

Garcia has been treating her craft with the same amount of seriousness since she was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. At the age of 7, she performed in Paul Mejia’s Cinderella at the Auditorium Theater. By the time she left high school, her roles throughout the Chicago theater circuit earned her a wide array of nominations for prestigious local stage awards, the chance to audition opposite Leonardo DiCaprio for Baz Luhrmann, the challenge of competing head-on against Jennifer Lopez for the lead in the 1997 biopic Selena, and the opportunity to act in McDonald’s commercials alongside Michael Jordan. While the audition for Selena would win her a 2-year contract with Paramount TV, the commercials would help pay for her college tuition at Northwestern University, where she triple-majored in Economics, Journalism and French.

It didn’t take long for Aimee to realize she didn’t want to use her education on Wall Street, and she’s been building an impressive career layered with equal measures of play and passion ever since, from acting alongside major talent like Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl and Adam Sandler in Spanglish, to appearances in Family Guy, Lies & Alibis with Steve Coogan and the record-setting (in its native Korea) box office smash Dragon Wars alongside veteran actor Robert Forster. And just to keep us on our toes, she’ll be starring opposite Michael C. Hall in the upcoming season of the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series Dexter. We called her a triple-threat in 2009. It may be about time to amend that statement; this Latina has beauty, brains, talent, and genuine brawn to boot.