Justina Machado

Justina Machado Biography

Justina Machado (born September 6, 1972) is an American actress of Puerto Rican descent. She is known for her roles as Vanessa Diaz on the HBO drama series Six Feet Under, and as Brenda on the drama Queen of the South. In 2017, Machado appeared on the Netflix show, One Day at a Time, in her first starring TV role.

Early life

Machado was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents moved to Chicago from Puerto Rico. where they had two children, Her parents subsequently divorced and her mother remarried and had three children. Machado had a traditional quinceaera. She said her family was poor, and that she grew up in the Northwest Side of Chicago. Machado said she was raised Catholic.

Machado was very active in drama, always participating in her school plays. She also took dance at Franklin Fine Arts Center. In 1986, Machado attended Lane Technical College Prep High School. During her spare time, she performed with the Latino Chicago Theater Company.


In 1990, after graduating from Lane Tech, Machado moved to New York City. The experience which she had gained as a performer with the Latino Chicago Theater Company helped open the doors for her in that city. Soon, she was offered a job as a professional actress in Los Angeles, California. Machado moved to Los Angeles and in 1996, she landed her first two acting roles. She was cast as "Elsa" in the TV series NYPD Blue episode #311, and she was also cast as "Val Cho" in the movie made for television No One Would Tell.


On June 10, 2001, Machado auditioned for the TV series Six Feet Under and was cast as Vanessa Diaz, originally a supporting character, later evolving into one of the series' main characters. Machado and her cast mates were honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series". The series completed its final season in 2005.

She has also appeared in the Canadian television series, 1-800-Missing, as a character named Sunny Estrada.

In 2009, she appeared in nine episodes on the TV series ER as Claudia Diaz. Machado also appeared in The Purge: Anarchy as Tanya, as well as Brenda in the USA series, Queen of the South.

In the 2017 remake of One Day at a Time, Machado has received positive reviews for her role as a single mother raising two children and struggling with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan.

Machado will have a recurring role in the upcoming third season of Jane the Virgin.


Machado has participated in over 15 films. Amongst her most notable roles so far have been Carmen Rodriguez in She's So Lovely, Isabella Hudson in Final Destination 2, Agent Henderson in Torque, Natalia in Little Fugitive, Teresa in Man Maid, Sofia in The Accidental Husband, and FBI Agent Rosie Gomez in the film In the Electric Mist.


Machado has also made appearances on stage, including a 2008 production of Neil LaBute's play, Some Girl(s), at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. She was in productions of Blade to the Heat and Black Butterfly at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She was the first replacement for Andra Burns in Broadway's In the Heights. In 2010, Machado appeared in the Los Angeles run of Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Other work

In 2003, Machado appeared in the music video for TLC's song "Damaged", the third single from their fourth studio album 3D, as a young woman trapped in an abusive relationship and unsure of what to do with her life.



Year Title Role Notes
1997 She's So Lovely Carmen Rodriguez
1998 ' Marita
1999 Swallows America
2000 Following Paula Paula Ormida Short film
2001 Sticks Maria
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence Assistant
2002 Dragonfly Oncology Desk Nurse
2002 Full Frontal Linda's Friend in Kitchen
2003 Final Destination 2 Isabella Hudson
2004 Torque Henderson
2006 Little Fugitive Natalia
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Paramedic
2008 ' Sofia
2008 Breast Pump & Blender Lizzie Short film
2008 Man Maid Terressa
2008 Pedro Mily
2009 In the Electric Mist Rosie Gomez
2013 ' Rachel
2014 Endgame Karla
2014 The Purge: Anarchy Tanya


Year Title Role Notes
1993 ABC Afterschool Special Episode: "Love Hurts"
1993 Missing Persons Juanita Gonzales Episode: "That's My Sister, Pal"
1996 NYPD Blue Elsa Episode: "Burnin' Love"
1996 Second Noah Roxanna Episode: "Second Noah"
1996 No One Would Tell Val Cho TV film
1997 ER Ms. Cruz Episode: "Ambush"
1997 Moloney Episode: "I'm Ambivalent About L.A."
1997 Crisis Center Raquel Episode: "He Said, She Said"
1997 Arsenio Anna Montez Episode: "We Can Still Be Friends"
1997 Goode Behavior Raquel Delarosa Recurring role (5 episodes)
1998 ' Maria Episode: "James Stevenson Stands Alone"
1998 Any Day Now Olivia Episode: "It's Who You Sleep With"
1998 Touched by an Angel Marisol Episode: "An Angel on the Roof"
1998 Malcolm & Eddie Laura Morales Episodes: "Love Thy Neighbor", "The Fool Monty"
1999 Promised Land Roxie Kahle Episode: "Darkness Visible"
1999 Early Edition Laura Episode: "Camera Shy"
1999-2000 Oh Baby Mona Episodes: "Guilt", "Friendship", "Cinderella"
2000 Angel Jo Episode: "Judgment"
2001-2005 Six Feet Under Vanessa Diaz Regular role (42 episodes)
2002 ' Marisol TV film
2002 Strong Medicine Episode: "Type & Cross"
2003-2004 Missing Sunny Estrada Main role (17 episodes)
2006 Alpha Mom TV film
2006 Ghost Whisperer Suzanne Episode: "Demon Child"
2006 Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America Alma Ansen TV film
2006 Grey's Anatomy Anna Nyles Episode: "Oh, the Guilt"
2007 Cold Case Amelia Lopez Episode: "The Good Death"
2007 Ugly Betty Cousin Clara Episodes: "A Tree Grows in Guadalajara", "Family/Affair"
2008 Man of Your Dreams Sheryl TV film
2008 Kath & Kim Angel Episodes: "Old", "Money"
2009 ER Claudia Diaz Recurring role (8 episodes)
2009-2010 Three Rivers Pam Acosta Main role (13 episodes)
2010 Burn Notice Lauren Episode: "Neighborhood Watch"
2010 Bones Lupe Rojas Episode: "The Couple in the Cave"
2011 Off the Map Teresa Episode: "Hold on Tight"
2011 ' Marisol Casas Episode: "Blood"
2011 Body of Proof Emily Burrows Episode: "Lazarus Man"
2011 Harry's Law Counsel Episode: "American Girl"
2012 Desperate Housewives Claudia Sanchez Episodes: "Who Can Say What's True?", "What's the Good of Being Good"
2012 Switched at Birth Nurse Britzia Munoz Episodes: "Starry Night", "The Art of Painting"
2012-2013 Private Practice Stephanie Kemp Recurring role (6 episodes)
2013 ' Sonia Rivera Episodes: "Saturday", "The Fallout", "I Do"
2013 Welcome to the Family Lisette Hernandez Episodes: "1.1", "1.2"
2013 Murder Police Rosa Sanchez TV series, pre-production
2014 Major Crimes Ana Ruiz Episode 13, Season 3
2015 Devious Maids Reina Episodes: "She Done Him Wrong", "The Turning Point"
2016 Heartbeat Beth and Emily Episode: "Twins"
2016-2017 Jane the Virgin Darcy Factor Recurring Role (5 Episodes)
2016-present Queen of the South Brenda Main role; 13 episodes
2017 One Day at a Time Penelope Main role

See also

  • List of Puerto Ricans

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Justina_Machado" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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