New York-born and bred actress Rosario Dawson made her screen debut in Larry Clark's controversial Kids (1995). Literally picked off the street to play Ruby, one of the film's titular teens, Dawson -- who is of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Black, Irish, and Native American heritage -- had never acted before being cast in the film. Following Kids, she next appeared in Spike Lee's He Got Game (1998) and that same year starred in Side Streets, a series of vignettes about life in New York's five boroughs. Faithful to her New York roots through and through, Dawson has continued to star in films set in her hometown, including Light It Up and Down to You.
Soon, Dawson branched into mainstream film, appearing in populist projects like Josie and the Pussycats, Men in Black 2, The Rundown, and the big-screen adaptation of Rent. The actress would also appear in harder films, like Sin City and Death Proof, as well as damanding dramatic roles, like that of a rape victim struggling to recover in Descent.