American actress Tia Texada is best recognized for her portrayal of Sergeant Maritza Cruz on the NBC series “Third Watch” from 2002 to 2005. For her good acting job, she was handed the Best Supporting Actress Imagen Award in 2004 and an additional nomination in the same category in 2005. Talking about her character on the series, she stated, “My character is quite intense. She's layered and that's how we are as Latin women. We're layered and we have so much complexity. That's what makes us beautiful.”
The Louisiana native landed her first regular role on the Aaron Spelling short lived soap opera “Malibu Shores” (1996), where she received a NCLR Bravo nomination for her performance as Kacey Martinez. After enjoying her big breakthrough on “Third Watch,” she played the role of Shay on ABC Family's “Huge” (2010). She also guest starred a number of television shows, including “Sisters,” “ER,” “NYPD Blue,” “The Unit,” “CSI: Miami” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” In addition, Texada has acted in many films, such as Robert Rodriguez's “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996), Neil LaBute's “Nurse Betty” (2000), Antoine Fuqua's “Bait” (2000), Jill Sprecher's “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” (2001), from which she jointly picked up a Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Vondie Curtis-Hall's “Glitter” (2001), Joel Schumacher's “Phone Booth” (2002), David Mamet's “Spartan” (2004) and Adam Pertofsky's “bgFATLdy” (2008). Her voice can be heard in the television series “Static Shock,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Batman Beyond” and in the films “Paulie” (1998) and “Firebreather” (2010, TV). Texada is also a musician and recording artist. She performed as a soloist in the 1995 Lilith Fair tour and her song “Driving You Crazy” was featured in an episode of “Dawson's Creek.”
Childhood and Family:
Tia Texada was born Tia Nicole Tucker on December 14, 1971, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, Val, is an insurance agent and an amateur golfer. In the 1970s, he became a baseball coach at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her mother, Vickie, is a reflexologist. Her brother is a jewelry designer. Tia, whose nicknames are T and Cha Cha, began acting when she was a child.
Tia Texada made her professional acting debut in 1993 when she was cast as Chrissy in the film “Coming in Out of the Rain,” starring Shawn Bishop. She branched out to television with guest spots in “Land's End” (1995), “Sisters” (1996) and “ER” (1996). She also appeared in an episode of “CBS Schoolbreak Special” called “Crosstown” (1996) and landed her first regular role as Kacey Martinez on the short lived teen drama “Malibu Shores,” which ran on NBC from March 9 to June 1, 1996. The role brought her a NCLR Bravo nomination in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She then had a bit part in the film “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996), a horror movie directed by Robert Rodriguez that was scripted by Quentin Tarantino and starred Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Tarantino and Juliette Lewis. Meanwhile in 1995, Texada enjoyed a break as a singer when she performed as a soloist in the California leg of the Lilith Fair tour. Later, her song “Driving You Crazy” was featured in an episode of “Dawson's Creek” titled “High Risk Behavior.”
In 1997, Texada made her television movie debut in Fox's “Runaway Car,” starring Judge Reinhold, Nina Siemaszko and Brian Hooks. She also appeared as Wanda Diaz in an episode of “NYPD Blue” called “A Wrenching Experience” (1997). She then appeared in the pilot of “Ask Harriet” (1998) and in episodes of “Fame L.A.,” (1998, as Tasha), “Brooklyn South” (1998, as Sylvia) and “Working” (1999). In addition, she had small roles in such films as “Shadow of Doubt” (1998), a thriller starring Melanie Griffith, Tom Berenger and Craig Sheffer that was directed by Randal Kleiser, the Bernard Salzmann directed drama “The Unknown Cyclist” (1998), starring Lea Thompson, Vincent Spano and Danny Nucci, and “The Thirteenth Floor” (1999), in which she appeared as Gretchen Mol's roommate.
Texada made her debut as a voice artist in 1998 when she sang the part of Lupe the parrot on the family film “Paulie” (1998), starring Jay Mohr as Paulie's voice and Tony Shalhoub as a janitor who finds him in a research laboratory. She went on to lend her voice to the television animated series “The Wild Thornberrys” (2 episodes, 1999-2000, as Santusa), “Batman Beyond” (1 episode, 2000, as Trina) and “Static Shock” (8 episodes, 2000-2004, as Talon/Rita Velasquez/Teresa).
In 2000, Texada received the supporting role of Rosa Hernandez in the critically acclaimed comedy film “Nurse Betty,” which was directed by Neil LaBute and starred Renée Zellweger. The same year, she also portrayed Tika in “Bait,” a movie starring Jamie Foxx and David Morse. She next costarred with Matthew McConaughey, Alan Arkin, John Turturro, Clea DuVall and Amy Irving in the Jill Sprecher directed drama “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” (2001), from which she shared a Florida Film Critics Circle for Best Ensemble Cast. In addition, she portrayed Roxanne in the Mariah Carey starring “Glitter” (2001), which received negative reviews from critics and was a box office flop, and costarred with Eriq La Salle, Michael Beach and Ronny Cox in the horror suspense film “Crazy as Hell” (2002), which was directed by Eriq La Salle. She next played the supporting role of Asia on Joel Schumacher's hit psychological thriller “Phone Booth” (2002), starring Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell, Katie Holmes and Kiefer Sutherland.
After guest starring on “The Mind of the Married Man” (2001) and playing Marissa in the pilot of “The American Embassy” (2002), Texada joined the cast of the NBC series “Third Watch” as NYPD Sergeant Maritza Cruz. She appeared on the show from 2002 until 2005 and in 2004, won an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama. She also received an Imagen nomination in the same category in 2005.
In 2003, Texada appeared in the dramatic film “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” opposite Lawrence Browning, Nicholas Cascone and Alicia Coppola. She then portrayed Sergeant Jacqueline Black in the political thriller “Spartan” (2004), which was directed and written by David Mamet. Costars of the film included Val Kilmer, Derek Luke, William H. Macy and Kristen Bell. After “Third Watch” came to an end, Texada had a recurring role on “The Unit” (2 episodes, 2006-2007, as Mariana Ribera) and guest starred in the television series “CSI: Miami” (2007, as Jane Duncroft), “Criminal Minds” (2008, as Detective Tina Lopez) and “Everybody Hates Chris” (2008, as Ms. Rivera). She also costarred in the John Dahl directed television movie “The Line-Up” (2006), and in director Steven Kessler's feature “5up 2down” (2006), starring Kirk Acevedo, John Ahlin and Ward Asquith. She also had a small role in “bgFATLdy” (2008), which starred William Atherton, Joanne Baron and Gil Bellows and was directed and co-written by Adam Pertofsky.
In 2010, Texada appeared in an episode of the TNT drama series “Saving Grace” called “Loose Men in Tight Jeans” before landing the role of Shay on the ABC Family dramatic series “Huge,” which was based on the young adult novel of the same name by Sasha Paley. “Huge” ran for 10 episodes from June 28 to August 30, 2010. In October 2010, she appeared as Hortencia Goya in the episode “Chuck Versus the Coup d'Etat” of “Chuck.” Still in 2010, Texada's voice could be heard as Isabel on the animated TV film “Firebreather” which starred the voices of actors Dana Delany, Jesse Head and Dante Basco. She also joined the cast of the action film “Finding Hope Now,” which was directed by Jennifer Tadlock and written by Skin Mead. It has not been released yet.
Imagen: Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama, “Third Watch,” 2004
Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC): Best Ensemble Cast, “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing,” 2003