Date of Birth: May 9th 1979
Dawson's acting career began when filmmaker Larry Clark saw her on a Manhattan stoop and asked her to be in his film Kids. Dawson's performance was critically praised, and as a result she decided to pursue a career in acting. She attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Dawson has worked steadily since her debut, with a mixed amount of commercial and critical success. As of 2007, she has worked with such notable directors as Oliver Stone, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Spike Lee, and costarred with the likes of Will Smith, Edward Norton, Taye Diggs, Clive Owen, and Colin Farrell.
Dawson's films have varied; ranging from independent films, to highly successful big budget blockbusters, and large scale box office bombs. Among her successes are He Got Game, opposite professional basketball player Ray Allen, and Men in Black II, which saw her sharing the screen with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; among her failures are The Adventures of Pluto Nash (which was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards) and the live-action film adaptation of Josie and the Pussycats.
She starred in the film adaptation of the popular musical Rent, where she played the exotic dancer Mimi Marquez, replacing the original Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, who was pregnant at the time of filming. She also appeared in the adaptation of the graphic novel Sin City, where she played the prostitute-dominatrix, Gail. She will appear in Sin City's sequel in 2008.
In 2005 Dawson appeared in a graphically violent scene in the Rob Zombie film The Devil's Rejects. Though the scene was cut from the final film, it is available in the deleted scenes on the DVD release.