Actress Tamala Jones launched her career as a model, appearing in magazine ads and television commercials, before landing her first acting job on an episode of the preteen sitcom California Dreams, but her interest in the craft goes back to early childhood, when Jones and her cousin would stage backyard shows. Los Angeles-born and raised, Jones first studied drama in the sixth grade. As a young woman, she guest starred on series ranging from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to E.R. to The Wayans Brothers. She had her first regular television role playing a student in the ABC network's short-lived drama Dangerous Minds. Jones entered feature films with a small role in How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and had her first starring film role in Booty Call (1997). In 1998, Jones starred in the short-lived NBC summer replacement sitcom For Your Love. After appearing in Blue Streak and The Wood the following year, Jones began to gain even more momentum in 2000 with roles in Ice Cube's Next Friday and the Tim Meadows SNL vehicle The Ladies Man. Jones would later share the limelight with a talented cast in Kingdom Come in 2001. She continued to work steadily in a variety of projects including Head of State, Daddy Day Camp, Who's Your Caddy?, and What Love Is before being cast on the television show Castle as Lanie Paris. In 2010 she starred in and co-produced the romantic comedy 35 & Ticking.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Got her first taste of acting by imitating characters from Fame and Good Times as a child.
- Started taking acting classes in sixth grade.
- Began her career as a teen model.
- First acting role was at 16 in a national commercial for IBM in 1990.
- Film debut was in 1995 in How to Make an American Quilt playing Maya Angelou's great-great-grandmother.
- First major television role was playing a student in the TV adaptation of the feature film Dangerous Minds in 1996-97.
- Had a brain aneurysm at 23.
- Voted as one of The 10 Sexiest Women of the Year in 2000 and 2001 by Black Men Magazine.
- Dated rapper Big Gipp for four years.
- Received breast implants in 2006, which she now regrets.
- Works with the Rosemary Children Foundation charity for foster children.