New York City, New York, United States
Selenis Leyva went to the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. However, before she got admission at LaGuardia, she was told by a guidance counselor that she had no chances of getting in any arts high school in New York City.
After graduating from high school, she got enrolled at the Marymount Manhattan College. But, she dropped out of the college in the junior year as she had started getting a lot of work.
- Siblings – Arnol Leyva (Younger Brother), Isa Leyva (Younger Sister), Tony Leyva (Younger Brother), Amber Leyva (Younger Sister), Marizol Leyva (Younger Sister, transgender woman) (Model, Cook, and Activist)
Selenis Leyva is represented by Long Island-based Hartig-Hilepo Agency, Ltd.
5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
61 kg or 134.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Selenis Leyva has remained tight-lipped about her personal life. The only detail available about her personal life is that she has a young daughter named Alina. However, she has refused to divulge the identity of her daughter’s father. It has also been speculated that she has adopted Alina. Again, she hasn’t confirmed or denied it.
Race / Ethnicity
On her father’s side, she has Cuban ancestry and on her mother’s side, she is of Dominican descent.
- Short cropped hairdo
- Short height
Best Known For
- Being cast in the role of Gloria Mendoza in the comedy-drama web series, Orange is the New Black.
- Having made guest appearances in the popular TV series such as Law & Order, The Good Wife, and The Sopranos.
- Having appeared in a supporting role in the legal drama movie, Custody, which had acclaimed actress Viola Davis in the lead role.
In 2002, Selenis made her first theatrical film debut in the thriller movie, Apartment #5C.
First TV Show
In 1999, Selenis Leyva made her TV show debut in Refuge: Part 2 episode of legal drama series, Law & Order.
Selenis is very particular about her workout regime and has even hired a personal trainer to push her beyond her limits. Jose Lopez puts her through grueling workout routine at the Bronx Barbell Club. And, to keep things fresh and ensure that she doesn’t hit a plateau, he keeps switching her workout routine around. He takes the elements of high-intensity interval training and boxing and mixes it up with plyometric exercises to create a complete fitness regime for her.
Selenis complements her gym regime by eating healthy. She is a huge fan of salads and smoothies and usually prefers to cook her food on her own. She is very much into juicing as well.
Selenis Leyva Favorite Things
- Vegetable – Spinach
- Inspirational Actors – Rita Moreno, Miriam Colon, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Julianne Moore, Carol Burnett, Bryan Cranston, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- TV Shows – Mad Men, 30 Rock, House of Cards
Source – WomenFitness.net, Latina.com
Selenis Leyva Facts
- She is involved with The Anti-Violence Project, which is a non-profit organization that works to end violence against the LGBTQ community through education and spreading awareness. They also provide support to victims of such violence by providing counseling.
- She had initially auditioned for another role in the drama TV series, Orange is the New Black. However, the show producers called her after a couple of weeks to offer her the role of Gloria Mendez.
- She holds the distinction of being the first Hispanic Ambassador of the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. With her brother being a cancer survivor, she has been tireless in her work for the foundation.
- She has done activism work for Stonewall Community Foundation, which raised funds for a variety of issues concerning the LGBTQ community.
- Just a couple of weeks before she got a call for Orange Is the New Black, she had decided to quit acting as she sought to bring some stability in her life for the sake of her daughter.
- She knew that she wanted to become an actress from a very young age. She often used to lock herself in the room and reenact scenes from her favorite telenovelas in front of the mirror.
- Her first acting gig was with Puerto Rican Traveling Theater as she was cast in a play, Simpson Street.
Featured Image by Peabody Awards / Flickr / CC BY-2.0