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For example, in Shakespeare's 'Anthony and Cleopatra,' Cleopatra has often been played by African-American actresses but as Dame Judi said to me, 'I could play Cleopatra too.’” Las Vegas Girl Rutina Wesley was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to a professional tap dancer father (Ivery Wheeler) and a showgirl mother (Cassandra Wesley).She graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies and the Performing and Visual Arts in Las Vegas in 1997 and received a BFA in theatre performance from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, in 2001.But, in real life, Rutina Wesley couldn’t be less like her character. One of her first gigs out of school was a role opposite Julianne Moore in Broadway’s Firstly, Ryan Kwanten is a Sydney-born Australian actor who can pull off a pretty convincing Southern accent (well, to us Yankees, anyway).Secondly, he plays Sookie’s protective, testosterone-dripping older brother, Jason Stackhouse.She was drawn to performing at an early age, and, like co-star Rutina Wesley, studied her craft at the University of Evansville and Juilliard.The idea of the perfect man doesn't always hold up entirely.Background: Classically trained actress Rutina Wesley kicked off her career on stage with performances in David Hare's Broadway play “The Vertical Hour” and others before gaining notice as Raya Green on the critically acclaimed film “How She Move” (2007).
She made me believe that being an African-American actress shouldn't limit me from doing all sorts of roles in the theater.She next trained at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City from 2001 to 2005.While at Julliard, Rutina spent a summer studying Shakespeare at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).Directed by British/Canadian filmmaker Ian Iqbal Rashid, the inspirational movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2007. It has been renewed for a second season, which premiered on June 14, 2009.Meanwhile, on November 7, 2008, Wesley also made a guest appearance in “Num3er,” where she portrayed Sarah.