Jennifer Esposito was born April 11, 1973. Jennifer and her older sister grew up in Brooklyn, New York, along with her father Bob, a computer consultant (and former music producer), and mom Phyllis, an interior decorator. Her dreams of becoming an actress were present from day one, and led her to enroll at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. Though she found bit parts every so often, bigger roles were hard to come by in the beginning, and so to make ends meet, Esposito worked as a waitress. But the wait finally paid off: In 1995, she got her first big break by landing a part on the ABC soap, The City. This brought her to the attention of the casting agents of Spin City, who were looking for a feisty, Italian-American to portray Michael J. Fox's character's assistant. Esposito was eventually cast and began shooting for the successful sitcom in 1997. But finding the work to be unfulfilling, Jennifer left the series in 1999 in pursuit of a career in feature films. Again, she did not have to wait long; after working on films like Kiss Me Guido and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Spike Lee cast her in his 1999 film, Summer of Sam. Although the film was not a commercial success, it did showcase Esposito's range while playing a punk singer whose boyfriend is accused of murder. Incidentally, Esposito was originally slated to play the role that ultimately went to Mira Sorvino, but she had to take on a smaller role due to scheduling conflicts. Since then, Jennifer Esposito has consistently remained in the spotlight, landing roles in Just One Time, Dracula 2000, Don't Say a Word, and 2002's The Master of Disguise with Dana Carvey. To date, she has shown no signs of slowing down. Over the years, Esposito has been linked to various men, including Dean Winters and All My Children star Cameron Mathison, though it appears that she is currently single. Esposito is keeping busy auditioning and continues to work on various projects. You can see her next in Prey for Rock & Roll and Jesus, Mary and Joey.
More fun stuff about Jennifer Esposito
Where you’ve seen her:
As sexy Bronx disco babe-turned-Punk Rocker in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam and as the sultry secretary on ABC’s Spin City. She plays opposite Samuel L. Jackson in John Singleton’s remake of Shaft. (She’s one baaaad muthafu— Shut yo’ mouth!)
On her heritage:
“Well, I’m Italian, but my family isn’t stereotypical. I mean, I only have one sister and we don’t yell or throw pasta at each other. My mother doesn’t even have a secret spaghetti-sauce recipe.”
Elvis would be proud:
Jennifer’s favorite sandwich is Nutella and sliced bananas on Wonder bread.
Originally had the Mira Sorvino role in SUMMER OF SAM (1999), but had to take a different part due to scheduling conflicts.
Former dancer on Club MTV
Is Italian but claims her family is far from the stereotypical Italian family.
Was a waitress but had to quit when she threatened a rude customer with a plate.
In her teenage years, Jennifer's parents would often leave her home alone with her grandma. She used to lock her grandma in her room as an extra precaution when she wanted to go out partying all night long.
Wild child, she even borrowed her friend's dad's car all night long. The next morning when she was returning the car, he was mowing the lawn. She convinced him not to tell her parents.
Meet Jennifer Esposito
With two star-making movie roles—including one in Spike Lee’s upcoming Son of Sam drama—the sexy secretary on Spin City has Hollywood taking notes. For some reason, every waiter in this New York City diner keeps finding excuses to hover near actress Jennifer Esposito during our two-hour interview. Could it be her stories of growing up on nearby Staten Island as a laughably amateurish car thief? Is it her devilish Italian beauty? Or is she secretly handing them doggy treats? We may never know, but it’s clear that Jennifer—already a standout on ABC’s sitcom Spin City, starring Michael J. Fox—knows how to draw a crowd. This month she shares a dozen big-screen screams with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brandy in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. But it’s her lead role in Spike Lee’s recently completed film, Summer of Sam, that really has Hollywood buzzing: As a ’70s disco queen who goes punk while a serial killer stalks her neighborhood, Jennifer is beginning to get the kind of attention usually reserved for adulterous presidents. Something tells us that if we come back to this same diner in six months, there’ll be a sandwich named after her.
MAXIM: You filmed I Still Know What You Did Last Summer on location in some remote corner of Mexico, right? What was that like?
JENNIFER ESPOSITO: Horrifying. It took 11 hours to get there—the last part by donkey—and I had to get typhoid shots, malaria pills, all this crap. When we finally arrive, it’s 103 degrees and we’re surrounded by scorpions and gigantic bugs and bats. Then they put me in a room with a mattress on the floor, a broken air conditioner, and a television with only one channel in English that shows the same porno movie over and over.
M: Um…how many times did you watch the porno?
JE: Hey, it was the only thing on in English! I saw this girl in a magazine the other day and thought she looked familiar; then I realized she was one of those porno women. The worst thing, though, was the crabs.
M: [delicately] The crabs?
JE: First of all, let me just say that [Summer costar] Brandy told my crab story as her own on The Tonight Show. But I’ve got the pictures to prove it. One night I was in bed—and remember that I’m on the second floor of a hotel—when I spotted this crab coming toward me across the floor, watching me with his beady little crab eyes. I think he wanted to get in bed with me.
M: I had no idea crabs were so smart.
JE: If I moved, he moved. If I stopped, he stopped. It was a duel. Finally he scurried behind the couch. So I slammed the couch against the wall and figured it was bye-bye, crab. But when I woke up an hour later, the crab was sitting on my head! I freaked out and called the front desk, and their reaction was, “A crab? Big deal.”
M: So you’d classify yourself as a city girl, then?
JE: Sure, give me civilization. I don’t want to be pampered. I just want to be clean and have a crab-free bed and be able to eat the food. We sent a bunch of crew members home with dysentery—that’s like diarrhea times 50.
M: Do you think the producers chose this luxurious location just to achieve true horror?
JE: If they did, it was very wise. I was screaming constantly, on the set, in my room…everywhere. When you see this movie, I look authentically terrified. In the future, all my movie contracts will have a no-crab clause.
M: You play a bartender in the Summer sequel. Did you ever work behind a bar in real life?
JE: Oh, you bet. But I spent more time waitressing—by far the worst job ever created. I had to stop because I threatened a rude customer with a plate.
M: What’s the worst pick-up line you heard on the job?
JE: One night this guy actually said to me, “Your legs must be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all night.” It was so silly I didn’t even get it. With lines like that, you might as well just stay at home.
M: I dunno…you seem like someone who’s always craved excitement. Is it true you used to lock your grandmother in her basement room so you could party at night?
JE: Just as an extra precaution. When I was 15, my parents would leave me at home alone with her, so I’d invite my friends over. She was practically deaf, but I’d lock her in anyway after she went to sleep.
M: Sensible. What else did you do?
JE: One time we all wanted to go to a club in Manhattan, and the only person with a driver’s license was my best friend from across the street. Unfortunately, her dad made her come home, but she left the keys to his car at my house, so basically…I stole my neighbor’s car and stayed out all night, partying.
M: What happened?
JE: When I got back at six in the morning, my friend’s father was out walking the dog! First I tried to tell him I’d borrowed his car to get some bagels…you know, in my party clothes. Then I pleaded, swore I’d never steal another car, and he didn’t tell my parents. I told my mother years later, and she called him to apologize because her daughter had stolen his car five years earlier.
M: You locked your grandmother in the basement and committed grand theft auto in the same night?
JE: Sounds pretty bad when you put it that way.
M: How much is your Spin City character, Stacy, the feisty, uninhibited Italian, based on you?
JE: Well, I’m Italian, but my family isn’t stereotypical. I mean, I only have one sister and we don’t yell or throw pasta at each other. My mother doesn’t even have a secret spaghetti-sauce recipe.
M: Any chance we’ll see Stacy hook up with Michael J. Fox this year? His character sure seems to get a lot of hot women, for a lowly deputy mayor.
JE: That’s TV for you. And it’s his show—he gets to do what he wants. In my case, though, they thought that would be a little much, since I work with him.
M: Enough about him. Tell me about next year’s Summer of Sam, the film you just completed with Spike Lee.
JE: It’s my dream come true. I’ve been up for every movie you can think of starring Salma Hayek or Jennifer Lopez, and now I got a big one. It takes place in the Bronx in 1977, when the Son of Sam serial killings were going on. But it’s really about the fear that takes over when people have to live through that. It was sweltering that summer—there was the blackout, too. Everyone I talk to says they were so scared, they’d run from their cars to their front doors.
M: Does your character ever come face-to-face with the Son of Sam himself?
JE: No, she’s just this neighborhood disco girl with Farrah Fawcett hair and a bit of a bad reputation. She gets involved with this punk-rock guy who makes her the lead singer in his band, The Boogers.
M: Disco to punk rock: That’s quite a musical transformation. Do you actually sing?
JE: Sing? It’s punk rock, so it’s more like screaming. We shot at CBGB with real punkers as the audience, and they actually thought we were a real band. They wanted to know when they could buy my album.
M: Hmm…Michael J. Fox and Spike Lee. You seem to have a thing about working with short men.
JE: No kidding. Are you listening, Martin Scorsese?
Jennifer At A Glance
Vital stats: Born April 19, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York, to a musician-producer dad and a former model. She’s single but dating only one guy.
Favorite sandwich: Nutella, that weird Italian hazelnut spread, and sliced bananas on Wonder bread.
Why she doesn’t want her MTV: Got her fill at age 16, as a regular dancer on Club MTV. “We taped eight shows in a single day. You could tell which shows were near the end of the day because we’re dancing a lot slower.”
First paying job: Played a model—a hand model, to be precise—on the soap opera Loving.
Worst audition strategy: Tried out for a college musical-theater production by singing “Happy Birthday” to the startled director. (It wasn’t his birthday.)
Phobia: Flying. “I have to sit by the window; then I turn up my Walkman and put a coat over my head. One time I got stuck in the middle seat: I actually thought I was going to kill someone.”
Jennifer Esposito has looks, talent and pesonality
With the perfect combination of guts and glamour, Jennifer has the ability to seduce us both on the small and big screen. In addition to her numerous film credits, including last year's hit, Don't Say a Word, she also played Stacey Paterno on the ABC sitcom, Spin City. Jennifer Esposito has just about everything she needs to become a major star: looks, talent and personality. Her vast number of projects -- in the last five years alone -- is quite impressive. She has worked with A-list directors (Spike Lee) and actors (Michael Douglas), and proven that she has what it takes to transport her career to the next level.
What's even more impressive is that she has managed, in a very short time, to display her range as an actress. Esposito has gone from soap operas like The City, to feature films such as Summer of Sam and The Bachelor, and tackled both comedic and serious roles. Such versatility will serve her well as she searches for that one project to put her over the top.
In the meantime, Esposito has to make sure she doesn't fall into the "supporting" role trap, nabbing only secondary roles. While her name is relatively familiar and her face somewhat recognizable, she has yet to carry a project on her own. But don't misunderstand us: what she has accomplished is quite remarkable, and is a success by any standards.
Fortunately for her, she has plenty of time to sharpen her skills. More importantly, she's got the right attitude. Her natural spunk and charisma come across nicely in her work and interviews; just the kind of persona audiences love to root for. With the right determination -- and a bit of luck -- she could very well become America's next sweetheart. Few people land a dozen movies (with some pretty important parts) and a supporting role on a hit sitcom in just under five years if they don't have talent. Esposito has the chameleon-like ability to go from light-hearted humor in Spin City to grittier fare, such as her role as a no-nonsense cop in Don't Say a Word.
And if her past disclosures are any indication, she sounds like she'd be a hoot to work with. This is the woman who once admitted to locking her grandmother in her room as a teenager and stealing the neighbor's car so that she and her friends could go out partying all night long. Chances are she hasn't lost this rebellious edge, for she continues to give off that hip, young vibe even as she pushes 30. She may take her work seriously, but it's nice to know that she has a wild side.
Esposito's sexiness is perhaps one of her best assets. The way she looks at the camera with those puppy dog eyes amidst a provocative pose leaves us foaming at the mouth. She walks that very fine line between being young and cool, and appearing mature and sophisticated. And that feeling of never knowing what you're going to get makes her all the more alluring. It also doesn't hurt one bit that she's got a killer body. Jennifer Esposito's dreams of making it as a successful actress seem to be paying off so far. She went from waiting tables to nabbing roles on the TV series The City and co-starring alongside Michael J. Fox on Spin City for two years.
Her film credits have also shown some promising growth from year to year. Beginning with Kiss Me Guido in 1997, she appeared in 1998's I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and No Looking Back, 1999's Summer of Sam, Dracula 2000, 2001's Don't Say a Word and most recently, The Master of Disguise. Her talents as an actress, in addition to her collaborations with seasoned actors and directors, has made Esposito a hot commodity on the Hollywood scene. Switching from weekly series to feature films was a smart move on her part. She just needs to keep diversifying her portfolio in order to land that blockbuster part.
Esposito has been blessed with a Latin flair that is rarely seen among today's females. Her deep brown eyes and highlighted brown locks are great to look at, as is her dark, silky smooth skin. She has a one-of-a-kind look that helps her stand out even more. In a land of blonde-haired, silicone-injected Barbie dolls, Jennifer is a breath of fresh air. We love a woman who isn't afraid to share her great body with the rest of the world. Whether she's striking a pose for a photo spread or dressing up (or should we say, down) for an event, Jennifer Esposito is all about legs and cleavage, perhaps to keep her male fans happy. Whatever the reason, we love it.
But the one thing that makes Esposito stand out from the rest is that she never looks like she's trying too hard. Her hair and make-up are usually relatively simple, and her desire to look good is never eclipsed by a need to get attention. Some other female celebrities would do well to follow in her footsteps.
Jennifer Esposito: 'The Master of Disguise'
Single mom Jennifer (Jennifer Esposito) is looking for love and a way to earn a paycheck. Pistachio Disguisey (Dana Carvey) is looking for an assistant and a way to thwart his family's archenemy.
"Everything falls into place when Jennifer meets Pistachio," says hairstylist Thomas Real. Jennifer gets the job and the man. Make that many men. When Pistachio taps into the Disguisey family gift known as "Energico," he turns into 36 different characters.
"But Jennifer was 'real'," says costume designer Mona May. "All her clothes sort of reflected that. She didn't wear too much designer stuff. She was realistically dressed as a mom who could afford to go to Macy's, not Beverly Hills designers."
Esposito didn't think Jennifer's hair should look too high maintenance, and Real agreed. "We wanted it to look like something she did herself," he says. Real applied Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus to give her hair volume, and then followed with Curly Sexy Hair Hot Curl Setting Lotion to protect from the heat of the big-barrel curling iron used to add wave from Esposito's roots to ends. He finished with Big Sexy Hair Spray and Play hairspray. "It's lightweight -- great for film," he says. "You can touch up and they don't feel like they have a ton of gunk on their hair."
May designed Esposito's wardrobe around her "beautiful skin tone and hair." Says May, "We put her in really warm colors, like orange and burgundy -- Natural jewel tones." (Like the Seven Jeans, Custo Barcelona T and Free People sweater coat shown here.) Yoga pants from Hard Tail, James Perse Ts, shoes from BCBG and other Theory and Betsey Johnson pieces completed Jennifer's wardrobe. "And we had one gold necklace with charms on it that we bought at a religious store," says May. "She wore it the whole time."
Makeup artist Ann Pala wanted Esposito's makeup to look "kind of dewy and kind of blushing." Pala started by applying Crème de la Mer lotion to her bare skin and followed with Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat No. 3 to cover any imperfections. Esposito brought her own custom-blended Make Up For Ever liquid foundation, which Pala applied sparingly. Next she used a combo of three cream products: MAC Cream Colour Base in Fresco and two shades of Nars The Mulitple multi-purpose makeup stick in Portofino and South Beach to highlight Esposito's cheekbones. She finished with a light dusting of Laura Mercier Translucent loose powder. To complete the look Pala prepped Esposito's lips with a light coat of Smith's Rosebud Salve, and used MAC lip pencil in Auburn and Nars lipstick in Xanadu.
Pala applied Stila Eye Glaze in Soleil to Esposito's lid and Stila eye shadow in Puck to the crease. She mixed MAC eye shadow in Mystery with a bit of water and lined her upper lid with a Trish McEvoy No. 9 brush. After prepping Esposito's lashes with a Shu Uemura lash curler, she finished with a coat of Maybelline Great Lash mascara in Very Black.
Miller Finds Love With Spin City Star
Actor Jonny Lee Miller has found love again - this time with beautiful American actress Jennifer Esposito. After dumping All Saints singer Natalie Appleton for a second time, the Trainspotting (1996) star has been having a discreet romance with the former co-star of "Spin City" (1996), according to sources. Jennifer hooked up with 27-year-old Jonny, ex-husband of stunning Angelina Jolie, on the set of their new movie Dracula 2000 (2000). "They are taking it a day at a time. Jonny wants to have fun. His previous relationships were somewhat hectic."