Un-Hollywood It List: Melonie Diaz

Actor Melonie Diaz, 23, says that most of the roles she's offered are uneducated and lost Latina girls. But this Lower East Side born-and-bred New Yorker refuses to play that game. "I don't do the Latina ghetto girl or the Mexican girl in the 'hood, and I don't play pregnant," she says. "I may be jobless and I may be broke, but I have to keep my integrity." Fortunately, no one needs to send Diaz a charity check anytime soon. From her debut as Luis Guzmán's daughter in 2001's Double Whammy to a string of wickedly fierce, fun and independent females in films including Raising Victor Vargas and Lords of Dogtown, Diaz is blazing new images of strong-willed young Latina women onto celluloid.

"All the roles I've gotten so far have accentuated different parts of myself in a certain time of my life," explains Diaz. "It's very cool -- it's like I'm documenting myself." And she plans to go right on ahead and continue her reign as self-documentarian-cum-indie ingenue. In her next film, Be Kind Rewind, from visionary director Michel Gondry, Diaz plays a nerdy dry-cleaner employee opposite Jack Black and Mos Def. So will the brainy beauty ever play a ditzy-blonde type? It's possible she could be persuaded: "Maybe it would be fun to play opposite of yourself."
Kate Bernstein * Melonie Diaz photographed by Katherine Wolkoff at the Sky Terrace in the HudsonHotel.

Melonie Diaz wears a dress by Moschino, earrings by D&G and shoes by Maison Martin Margiela * Styling by Kristen Naiman * Hair by Sarah Potempa for Aussie at the Wall Group * Makeup by Fabiola at the Wall Group * Assistant to photographer: Stephen Meierding * Assistant to stylist: Janicza Bravo * Intern: Emily Warman

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