Patricia Rae toiled in obscurity for close to a decade as a film and TV actress, nabbing bit parts on shows like "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005), before landing her breakout role in the 2004 drama "Maria Full of Grace. " The film earned universal praise from critics -- even earning an Oscar nod for lead actress Catalina Sandino Moreno at the 77th Academy Awards -- with Rae being lauded for her authentic portrayal of a pregnant woman from Colombia living in small New York City apartment. The unexpected success of "Maria Full of Grace" catapulted Rae into the spotlight, and in the years that followed she appeared in over two dozen film and television roles, most notably with a recurring part on "Chuck" (NBC, 2007-12), as well as a supporting turn in the star-studded ensemble comedy "The Big Wedding" (2013), thus proving her once-stalled acting career had only just begun.
Born in Manhattan and raised in the working-class borough of Queens, Patricia Rae was born to Colombian parents and grew up speaking Spanish as her first language. She learned English by watching countless hours of "Sesame Street" (PBS, 1969- ), and was eventually encouraged by one of her grade-school teachers to appear in the school's production of "Oliver Twist." Already a precocious youth, Rae welcomed the new challenge, beginning what would prove to be a lifelong love of performing. Throughout her teens and 20s, Rae moved back and forth between Florida and her hometown of New York City, landing bit parts in plays, commercials and TV shows, before deciding to permanently move her family to Los Angeles. Her big break came in 2004 when she landed the part of Carla in "Maria Full of Grace." The film, about a Colombian teenage girl who takes an unfortunate turn as a drug mule, premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to earn numerous accolades, including an Imagen Award nomination for Rae. She followed up that performance by landing guest spots on shows such as "The Chicago Code" (Fox, 2011), "The Mentalist" (CBS, 2008- ) and "Blue Bloods" (CBS, 2010- ), as well as a supporting role in 2013's "The Big Wedding." When she's not acting, Rae serves as a certified yoga instructor in Studio City, California, and has also penned a memoir about her struggles and triumphs as a Latino-American actress called How to Make It in the Middle.