Yaya DaCosta

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Biography by AllMovie

Model-turned-actress YaYa DaCosta reportedly nourished movie-star dreams from the age of four, and in fact gained acceptance to New York's LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts during adolescence. Nevertheless, DaCosta soon rejected the arts in favor of a more practical career as an educator, following in the footsteps of her university professor father and her school-founder mother. Years later, after completing boarding school in New England and studying international relations at the Ivy League Brown University, DaCosta heeded the prompting of friends who encouraged her, on a whim, to go out for the reality series America's Next Top Model; she was accepted, clocked in as a runner-up on the program's third season, and shortly thereafter secured a contract with the prestigious Ford Agency, onetime home to such supermodels as Rachel Hunter and Christie Brinkley. DaCosta broke through to feature stardom with her role (opposite Antonio Banderas) as urban high school student-turned-dancer LaRhette in the drama Take the Lead (2006), and followed this up with a supporting turn as China Doll in John Sayles' period musical drama Honeydripper (2007).