Date of Birth: May 9, 1979
Born in New York, Dawson was discovered while hanging out on the stoop in front of her New York
City building. Filmmaker Larry Clark was making the independent film Kids when he was
immediately captivated by her and urged her to audition. Dawson did, and landed the role of
Her work led her to more roles in other independent films, Side Streets, and Girls Night
Out. Indies led to big budget films and in 1998 she landed a supporting role in Spike Lee's
He Got Game, playing the girlfriend of basketball player Jesus Shuttlesworth. Following
major roles in Light it Up and Down to You, she took another step up in her career,
landing starring roles in big films, The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) opposite Eddie Murphy, Alexander (2003) with Colin Farrell and Unstoppable (2010) with Denzel Washington. In 2009 she won an Image award for her work in the critically-acclaimed Seven Pounds opposite Will Smith.
Besides acting, Dawson has a deep interest in music and played a role in the film version of the musical Rent (2005), for which she won a Satellite Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role.