Talisa Soto could easily be called on of the most beautiful women in the world, but growing up was still very difficult for her. She was born Miriam Soto on March 27, 1967 in Brooklyn New York. Her parents had immigrated from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and they moved to Northampton, Massachusetts when she was still a child. Northampton, Massachusetts was not an easy place for a young Puerto Rican woman to grow up. She was a minority and she spent most of her younger years alone.
Miriam was beautiful and it was her looks and her determination to succeed that pulled her out of obscurity. In 1982 she landed her first modeling job at the age of 15. In 1985, she tried to sign up with the Ford modeling agency, but her “Latina” looks were not what the agency was looking for. She went on to sign with Click Model Management and they sent her to Europe. It was the owner of Click, Frances Grill, who thought the name Miriam sounded too old for Soto, and they called her Lisa instead. Often when she called the agency she was put on hold. Her booker would say, “tell Lisa I will be right with her,” after this happened a few times; “tell Lisa, tell Lisa,” her name evolved into Talisa.
Talisa became one of the top models of the 1980’s and found herself modeling in Italy and France. She appeared on the covers of some of fashions top magazines and she was photographed by some of the world’s top photographers like Photographer Lord Snowdon. She graced the covers of Vogue, British Elle, British Vogue, , Mademoiselle, Glamour, and Self magazines. She also appeared in her first music video with former boyfriend Nick Kamen, Madonna’s “Each Time You Break My Heart”, directed by Tony Viramontes. Talisa and Nick were often used as models by Ray Petri, the late fashion stylist who created the 80’s London “Buffalo Boy” look.
Talisa returned to the United States in 1988 and auditioned and landed the role of “India” in her feature debut, Spike of Bensonhurst, a comedy which starred Sasha Mitchell and Ernest Borgnine. In 1989, she was cast as Lupe Lamora, in the James Bond movie Licence to Kill starring Timothy Dalton and as Maria Rivera in The Mambo Kings.
Talis Soto has acted in more than 20 movies, including Mortal Kombat in 1995 as Kitana, in Island of the Dead as Melissa O’Keefe, in Pinero in 2001 as sugar with Benjamin Bratt and in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) as Ryne, alongside Lucy Lui and Antonio Banderas. Talisa also made two guest appearances on the television series C-16: FBI. In 1995, she played the role of Doña Julia, one of Johnny Depp’s many love interests in the tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco. She also made an appearance in Marc Anthony’s music video for I Need to Know. In 1996 Talisa had the title role in the campy movie Vampirella based on the comic book character.
Talisa was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1990. In 1995, she was featured in the Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue”. She was ranked #58 on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2002.
During the 80s, Soto lived in both London and New York City with boyfriend, Nick Kamen. In 1997, Soto married Costas Mandylor but they divorced in 2000. While filming Pinero, Talisa met actor Benjamin Bratt and the two were married on April 13, 2002. Talisa and Bratt have two children, a daughter Sophia Rosalinda Bratt, born December 6, 2002, and a son, Mateo Bravery Bratt, born October 3, 2005. They currently reside in Los Angeles, California.
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