Tessie Santiago is a proud Cuban-American who was born and raised in Miami, and a graduate of the University of Miami with B.A.'s in both Theater and Film. She has had a successful acting career for over 14 years, which began when a nation wide search plucked her out of obscurity to play the lead role in the syndicated series "Queen of Swords."  Tessie was immediately flown to Almeria, in the south of Spain, to begin filming the action series. Although she wouldn't start painting until years later, her experiences shooting in Spain planted the seeds of visual inspiration for her debut art show "Matadora." Immersing herself in her Spanish roots, Tessie would soon be exposed to the brutal world of bullfighting and it would leave a lasting impression upon her. 

Tessie went on to star as a regular in several television series, including "Good Morning Miami", "Kitchen Confidential" and "Secret Life of the American Teenager." She has also played lead roles in such films as "The Cell 2" and, the recently completed, "Touched." She received an Alma Award Nomination for Best Actress for her work in "Queen of Swords.”  "Being a woman in the entertainment industry is an interesting challenge. You're constantly having to slay the beasts that would steal your self worth. This series was inspired by the many amazing ladies whose words and actions helped me to carry on the fight, during a stretch in my life, when my strength was being tested and the voices in my head were clambering for me to give in."  This series celebrates the "Matadora" in all of us, that particular strain of courage and tenacity that strengthens our will to keep fighting when all seems lost.