In early 2008, Melonie Diaz flew to Park City, Utah, for her coronation. With a schedule-busting four films in competition, she was ready to accept her crown as the queen of Sundance. “It was incredibly flattering, but incredibly tiring. I was supposed to present at the closing awards, but being up at seven doing press every day and then going to bed at four, I got sick!” says the diminutive actress of her whirlwind experience at the festival. While there, she was promoting Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind (with Jack Black and Mos Def), Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2 (opposite Steve Coogan and fellow Sundance royal Catherine Keener), American Son (co-starring Nick Cannon) and Assassination of a High School President (featuring a pre-breakdown Mischa Barton).
Almost two years later, the versatile firebrand is about to embrace her softer side, playing a devoted fiancée this fall on the final season of FX’s outré plastic surgery soap Nip/Tuck. And after a successful detour to Los Angeles for a Hollywood test drive (she lived right under the Hollywood sign, an arrangement she describes as “surreal”), Diaz is back in her native New York, finding her way around an industry notoriously narrow-minded about minorities. “A lot of the parts I get offered are for hood girls—the Mexican chola. Anyone who’s met me knows I’m more complex than that,” she says. Anyone who’s seen her in the urban melodrama Raising Victor Vargas and the radical feminist romp The Itty Bitty Titty Committee knows it, too. The latter picture even gave her an unexpected demographic of devotees. “The lesbians love me,” she says with pride. They’re not the only ones.
Dress by D&G. Dress on chair by Prada.
Photography by Kate Orne. Styling by Christine De Lassus.
Top picture: Dress by Prada.
Hair by Nelson Vercher for redken @ Rita Hazan Salon NYC @ Judy Casey. Makeup by Christopher Ardoff @ Art Dept. Photographer’s assistant, Justin Tellian. Digital Tech, Chad Meyer @ Visionon. Stylist’s Assistant, Wilson Mathews III. Equipment Fotocare LTD. Location Cooper Square Hotel.