Spiky-haired actress Naomie Harris was raised by her single mother in London. After studying political science at Cambridge, she enrolled at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for professional stage training. In the '90s, she made a few appearances on U.K. television series, including reoccurring roles on Runaway Bay and The Tomorrow People. She gained more recognition for her role in the miniseries White Teeth as Clara, the Jamaican daughter of a fanatical Jehovah's witness mother. Adapted from the book by Zadie Smith, White Teeth was shown in the U.S. on PBS Masterpiece Theater in 2002. She made her international breakthrough the same year in Danny Boyle's post-apocalyptic thriller 28 Days Later. For the role of urban survivor Selena opposite attractive lead Cillian Murphy, Harris trained in kickboxing and learned how to properly wield a machete. Quickly becoming noticed for her talent and skill, she also appeared in Fritz Baumann's German drama Anansi as an immigrant from Ghana. Back on television, she played a radical activist for the New Labour party in the two-part BBC1 drama The Project. Harris' feature films for 2004 include the live-action remake Thunderbirds and the thriller Trauma, starring Colin Firth.
Though her star was steadily rising in Hollywood, it wasn't until 2006 that Harris would really make a splash on stateside screens; and after supporting roles in Brett Ratner's After the Sunset and Michael Winterbottom's A Cock and Bull Story, Harris took to the high seas for her role as Tia Dalma in the eagerly anticipated summer sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Though her role in the first sequel to the hugely successful 2003 original was something of a minor affair, Harris' loyal fans could rest assured that they would be seeing plenty more of her in the final installment of the series that was set to hit screens in 2007. Just a few short months after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest sailed into the multiplexes, Harris would trade her Jamaican accent for a Bronx inflection when she took the role of a tough New York cop in director Michael Mann's Miami Vice - a slick, big screen adaptation of the show that made pink t-shirts and white blazers all the rage in the 1980s.