Biography

A glamorous, visually stunning performer best known for one unique feature -- her green, cat-like oculars -- model-turned-actress Lisa Ray owed her exotic appearance and her ability to smoothly segue between productions on different continents to a uniquely mixed ethnic parentage, including a Bengali father. Born in Toronto in 1974, Ray originally planned to study journalism, but representatives of a high-profile Indian fashion magazine "discovered" the young woman during her trip to India to visit relatives and promptly recruited her to pose for several spreads in their publication. She thus commenced modeling at the age of 16 and built a lucrative career out of it, but reportedly found catwalk strutting an ill-fit given her 5'5" height. The gorgeous Ray's prominence in various magazine glossies ultimately prompted The Times of India to tag her as "one of the 10 most beautiful women of the millennium." In time, various Bollywood producers also noticed Ray and sought to recruit her for features; though she rejected nearly all offers (later observing that Bollywood-styled films weren't her style), she made an exception in the case of the 2001 Kasoor, then teamed up for multiple features with the Indian-born, Canadian-based writer/director Deepa Mehta, in whose acclaimed outings Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) and Water (2005) she starred. These experiences seemed to set a precedent for Ray, who went on to star in a series of offbeat, intelligent films produced far beyond the shores of Hollywood in projects including Canadian director Camelia Frieberg's gentle sibling drama A Stone's Throw, the South African-produced period lesbian drama The World Unseen (2007), and a similar LGBT outing in which Ray starred as a lesbian in director Shamim Sarif's British-produced drama I Can't Think Straight. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi