<p>A regular face in African-American comedy, Melissa De Sousa was perhaps best-known for her role as Murch's high-maintenance girlfriend Shelby in the sleeper hit "The Best Man" (1999). Born in...
Lands first notable role as Neely O'Hara in "Valley Of The Dolls" (Syndicated, 1994)
Plays Matthew Perry's girlfriend in Emmy-nominated TV movie "The Ron Clark Story"
Cast as Shelby in "The Best Man"
<p>A regular face in African-American comedy, Melissa De Sousa was perhaps best-known for her role as Murch's high-maintenance girlfriend Shelby in the sleeper hit "The Best Man" (1999). Born in New York City in 1967 to Afro-Panamanian parents, De Sousa attended the city's High School of Performing Arts before making her on-screen debut in legal drama "The Trials Of Rosie O'Neill" (CBS 1990-92). Guest appearances in "Getting By" (ABC 1993-94), "Silk Stalkings" (CBS 1991-99) and "Living Single" (Fox 1993-98) then followed, while she was also cast as drug-addicted Hollywood actress Neely O'Hara in the soap opera adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley Of The Dolls" (Syndicated 1994). Following cameos in "Married With Children" (Fox 1987-1997), "ER" (NBC 1994-2009) and "The Wayans Bros" (The WB 1995-99), De Sousa appeared as Hakeem's brief love interest in "Moesha" (UPN 1996-2001), starred as NYC film graduate-turned-music video assistant Leta in the indie comedy "Ride" (1998) and played career driven cop Stacy Phillips in the short-lived sitcom "Damon" (Fox 1998). But for many, it was her turn as cunning gold-digger Shelby in Malcolm D. Lee's romantic comedy drama "The Best Man" (1999) where her talents first stood out.</p><p></p><p>De Sousa continued to build on her big-screen profile by playing prison girlfriend Krista in hard-hitting drama "Lockdown" (2000), Miss New York in Sandra Bullock vehicle "Miss Congeniality" (2000) and eternally single banker Natalie in character-driven ensemble "30 Years To Life" (2001) while also taking on recurring small-screen roles in "The $treet" (Fox 2000) and "One On One" (UPN 2001-06). After landing a small part in the music business drama "Laurel Canyon" (2002), De Sousa was cast as restaurant owner Coco in sitcom "Second Time Around" (UPN 2004-05) and daughter Lucy in earnest family drama "Constellation" (2005) before appearing as Matthew Perry's other half in the Emmy-nominated TV movie "The Ron Clark Story" (2006). De Sousa spent the next few years languishing in TV movies, straight-to-DVD efforts and several web series. But following a one-off appearance in "Castle" (ABC 2009-), she reminded everyone of her skills with her performances as Camille in festival hit "Ashes" (2010) and fiery acupuncturist Gabriella in "Reed Between The Lines" (BET 2011). After a guest spot on the American version of dark British comedy "Shameless" (Showtime 2011-), she revisited her most famous character when she once again played Shelby in the hit sequel "The Best Man Holiday" (2013).</p><p> </p>
I've had people come up to me and say, 'thank you for representing the Afro-Latinas' - and it occurred to me that this actually means something to people out there who look like me." De Sousa quoted on Latina.com, July 12, 2011
"When I started out I was doing mainly black roles but I have now done Latina roles, and that's been a conscious effort because in this industry, people like to put you in a certain box. And if you don't agree with that, you have to do a lot of explaining." De Sousa quoted on NBC Latino, Nov. 14, 2013.
I've always been kind of an introvert growing up. People even picked on me because I was quiet." De Sousa quoted on Vibe, Nov 20, 2013