February 15, 1985
Kendall, Florida, United States
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With a magnetic screen presence and beguiling good looks, Natalie Morales could have easily been another ingénue to grace the pages of Maxim, or forever typecast as the sassy Latina. But beneath her toned veneer was a bubbling comedic energy and a self-effacing smirk that brought a spark to her performances. Best known for her all-too short role as Wendy Watson on the comic series "The Middleman" (ABC Family 2008), she continued to charm audiences and critics alike whether she was an FBI agent on "White Collar" (USA 2009-14), Aziz Ansari's formidable girlfriend on "Parks and Recreation" (NBC 2009-) or the spunky sidekick on the critically-acclaimed sitcom "Trophy Wife" (ABC 2013-14). Natalie Morales was born February 15, 1985 in the Miami suburb of Kendall, Florida. Raised in a Cuban family, she attended private school until 8th grade before applying to a magnet school to study law. But due to a serendipitous mix-up, she ended up attending public high school instead and enrolled in drama school freshman year since it was the only elective available. This seemingly trivial chain of events is what set her career path in motion. After graduating high school, she moved out to Los Angeles in 2005, with two of her closest friends from drama class. Morales developed her knack for physical comedy doing theater and sketch comedy before her big break happened when she met her manager the following year. Soon after, she burst onto the scene with her scene-stealing role as the female lead in the superhero dramedy "The Middleman" in 2008. While the sci-fi show didn't last beyond its initial 13-episode order, it lived on in the hearts of fans. After "The Middleman" fizzled out, Morales took on a guest-starring role on the snappy, comedic procedural series "White Collar" (USA 2009-14). Her take-no-prisoners character, special agent Lauren Cruz, was a hit with fans, and she was soon promoted to series regular. But when the second season rolled around, there was a case of musical chairs with casting and an actress who was returning to the series replaced her. Despite this minor setback, Morales quickly found work and returned to her comedic roots, joining the hit series "Parks and Recreation" for a brief arc as the new girlfriend of the recently-divorced Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) in 2010. That year brought continued success not only on the small screen but also marked Morales' big screen debut. She flexed her acting muscles by playing a ruthless Wall Street trader in Oliver Stone's sequel "Wall Street 2" (2010), as well as Drew Barrymore's best gal pal in the romantic comedy "Going the Distance" (2010). After wrapping the indie comedy "6 Month Rule" (2011) in New York, she returned to Los Angles and the world of television, taking a short but memorable guest spot on Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" (HBO 2012-14), where her character got Jeff Daniels' news anchor high before a broadcast. Leaving behind the highbrow world of Sorkin's banter-heavy series, Morales landed a recurring spot on the fifth season of teen-soap reboot "90210" (CW 2008-), followed shortly after by her supporting role on the dysfunctional family comedy "Trophy Wife." Despite its unfortunate title, the series starring Malin Ackerman as Bradley Whitford's reformed party-girl wife was a sleeper hit for the network, and allowed Morales free range to fit her character's wild spirit - even if that meant going topless on television. Despite initially shaky ratings, "Trophy Wife" was extended for a full season and Morales was announced as a guest star in season three of "Girls" (HBO 2012-17). After co-starring on the Rob Lowe legal comedy "The Grinder" (Fox 2015-16), Morales appeared in arcs on Drew Barrymore's horror comedy "Santa Clarita Diet" (Netflix 2017- ) and superhero comedy "Powerless" (NBC 2017) and guest starred on the comedy series "Grace and Frankie" (Netflix 2015- ), "Crashing" (HBO 2017- ) and "Imaginary Mary" (ABC 2017).