Selenis Leyva: Award Winning Actress Reveals her Workout, Diet and Beauty Secrets

Selenis Leyva is a Cuban-Dominican-American actress, known for her role as Gloria Mendoza in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. She is of Cuban and Dominican descent and has appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions. On television, Leyva had a recurring role of Detective Mariluz Rivera in Law & Order, and also appeared in different roles on the show and on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She has guest-starred on Third Watch, The Sopranos, The Good Wife, Girls, and Elementary.

In 2013, Leyva began starring as Gloria Mendoza, a Latina leader in the jail, in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. Her character was recurring for the first two seasons and she was promoted to series regular in Season 3. In 2015, she co-starred opposite Viola Davis and Catalina Sandino Moreno in the courtroom drama film Custody directed and written by James Lapine.

Selenis Leyva is one of the breakout stars of NETFLIX’s hit series Orange Is The New Black, which recently won the coveted Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series. Selenis will reprise her role as series regular (and fan favorite!) Gloria Mendoza when the hit series returned for a third season on 12th June 12 and will also make history as the first Latina Governor on HBO’s Emmy-winning series, Veep, starring opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, later this summer. Selenis Leyva recently joined the cast of the highly anticipated feature film “CUSTODY”, starring opposite Catalina Sandino Moreno, Viola Davis, Raul Esparza and Hayden Panettiere and began filming in May 2015 throughout NYC.

Selenis’ numerous television credits include recurring roles on hit shows like Law & Order: SVU; Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Girls, Elementary, The Following, The Sopranos and Third Watch. On the big screen, she’s been seen in Sex & The City 2, the Oscar-nominated film, Maria Full of Grace, and the animated films Ice Age:Continental Drift, EPIC and Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs.

A triple threat, Selenis also has numerous acting credits on the New York Stage, including the iconic role of CELIA CRUZ in the off-Broadway hit Celia, and the critically acclaimed plays Ana in the Tropics and Dona Flor & Her 2 Husbands.

Born and raised in New York City, Selenis is a proud Latina of Cuban and Dominican descent. In addition to being the first Hispanic Ambassador for the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research (her brother is a 2x cancer survior), Selenis is also the recipient of a 2014 ALMA Award, a Special Achievement Award for breaking barriers in the arts. She is also an advocate for LGBT rights and works closely with LGBT Human Rights Organizations and Anti- Bullying Campaigns.

Achievements of Selenis Leyva



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Debutante Daisy Dominguez
2002 Apartment #5C Luisa
2004 Maria Full of Grace Customs Inspector
2007 Illegal Tender Wanda
2007 Ben’s Plan Maria
2009 Don’t Let Me Drown Sonia
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Additional Voices Voice
2010 Sex and the City 2 Teacher
2010 Trouble Child Trouble Child Short film
2011 Man in the Mirror Sonia Short film
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Additional Voices Voice
2013 Epic Additional Voices Voice
2014 Living with the Dead Dr. Quenda
2015 Chapter & Verse Yolanda
2015 Custody Jackie


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Law & Order Louisa Episode: “Refuge: Part 2”
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lorinda Gutierrez Episode: “Hysteria”
2001 The $treet Kate Episode: “Junk Bonds”
2001 Law & Order DeeDee Salazar Episode: “Sunday in the Park with Jorge”
2001 Taina Titi Rose Recurring role, 6 episodes
2001 100 Centre Street Delfina Romero Episodes: “Kids: Part 1” and “Kids: Part 2”
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Isabella Costas Episode: “Homo Homini Lupis”
2003 Third Watch Phyllis Episode: “Goodbye to All That”
2004 Third Watch Gonzalez Episode: “Leap of Faith”
2004 Law & Order Nita Cabrera Episode: “Veteran’s Day”
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Warden’s Secretary Episode: “Prisoner”
2004-2006 Law & Order Detective Mariluz Rivera Recurring role, 18 episodes
2006 The Sopranos Jill Dibiaso Episode: “Live Free or Die”
2007 Dirty Sexy Money Detective Angelina Adams Episode: “Pilot”
2008 New Amsterdam Susan Boyle Episode: “Pilot”
2010 Law & Order Rona Henderson Episode: “Boy on Fire”
2010 The Good Wife Marisol Episode: “Doubt”
2010 The Whole Truth Claudia Episode: “Liars”
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Detective Mariluz Rivera Episode: “Icarus”
2011 Person of Interest Hosking Episode: “Number Crunch”
2011-2012 Blue Bloods Assistant M.E. Craig Recurring role, 4 episodes
2012 Girls Chastity Episode: “Hannah’s Diary”
2012 Elementary Sara Castillo Episode: “Child Predator”
2013 The Following Detective Morales Episode: “Chapter Two”
2013-present Orange Is the New Black Gloria Mendoza Recurring role (Seasons 1-2), Series regular (Season 3)
ALMA Award for Outstanding Special Achievement in Television (2014)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series(2015)
2015 Madam Secretary Bolivian Ambassador Mariana Dominguez Episode: “The Time Is at Hand”
2015 Veep Governor Ramos Episode: “B/ill”


Full Interview on Next Page!

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