Patricia Carola Velásquez Semprún (born 31 January 1971) is a Venezuelan actress and fashion model, considered by some to be the first Native American supermodel.
Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Velásquez, the fifth of six children, was the daughter of Venezuelan parents. Her father is mestizo and her mother a member of the indigenous Wayuu people. Her parents were both teachers; her father also worked for UNESCO and as a result, she spent some of her childhood in Mexico and France. She attended San Vicente de Paul High School, graduating in 1987. In 1989, she participated in the Miss Venezuela pageant, where she placed as 2nd runner-up (technically 7th place in the 1989 edition of the pageant). After 3 years of college studies, Velásquez left for Milan, Italy, in pursuit of a modelling career.
In 1997, she studied acting in Los Angeles and New York. In 1998, she paced down runways in ready-to-wear fashion shows for designers such as Antonio Berardi, Bella Freud, Corinne Cobson, Claude Montana, and Dolce & Gabbana. As for print advertising, Velásquez appeared in ads for Chanel's Allure, Roberto Verino's Verino fragrance, as well as Victoria's Secret. Early in her modelling career, she appeared in several issues of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This led to a large number of further modeling engagements, which ultimately culminated in her being ranked No. 45 on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2001 and No. 16 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" poll in 2002.
Velásquez played Anck-Su-Namun in the 1999 film The Mummy and its 2001 sequel The Mummy Returns.
She had a special appearance on "Breaking the Girl" video of the alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Velásquez played the character of Begoña on several episodes of The L Word during its 5th season (2008). She had a recurring role on the television series Arrested Development playing Marta Estrella. On CSI: Miami, in the episode "From The Grave", she appeared as a guest star, playing Celia Gonzalez. She had a recurring role in the first season of Rescue Me playing Nez, the ex-girlfriend and mother of Franco's daughter, Keela. She most recently guest starred on Ugly Betty.
Velásquez competed on behalf of the charity Wayúu Tayá Foundation on the twelfth season of The Apprentice. She was fired in week 6, on 25 March 2012.
In 2002, Velásquez founded the Wayúu Tayá Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the Wayúu, a Venezuelan indigenous group. In 2010, after the devastating Haiti earthquake, she had the Wayuú Tayá Foundation commission a special symbol of hope to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake along with the slogan: Keep the "H" Close to Your Heart—Help Haiti Hope. She is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
In February 2015, Velásquez released her memoir Straight Walk, discussing her struggles growing up in poverty in Venezuela and how her relationship with Sandra Bernhard made her realize she was a lesbian. This makes her the world's first openly lesbian Latina supermodel.
She has a daughter, Maya, with her ex-girlfriend Lauren; they separated after eight years together.Le Jaguar (1996) as MayaEruption (1997) as Luisa SoaresBeowulf (1999) as PendraNo Vacancy (1999) as RamonaThe Mummy (1999) as Anck-Su-NamunCommitted (2000) as CarmenFaçade (2000) as JuanitaSan Bernardo (2000) as ClaudiaTurn It Up (2000), cameo appearanceThe Mummy Returns (2001) as Meela Nais/Anck-Su-NamunSSX Tricky (2001, video game) as Marisol Diez DelgadoFidel (2002, miniseries) as MirtaMindhunters (2004) as Nicole WillisArrested Development (2004, TV series) as Marta EstrellaZapata: The Dream of a Hero/El sueño del héroe (2004) as JosefaThe Twelve Days of Christmas Eve (2004, made-for-TV) as Isabel FriasThe L Word, Season 5, as Begoña (2008)The Operative: Red Dawn (2010)Almighty Thor (2011) as JarnsaxaEternal Ashes (2011) as Ana (lead) and executive producerLiz in September (2014) as Liz (lead) and Executive producer