Francia Raisa (Shahrzad)

FranciaRaisa100812_MBP12815_RT-1-200x300As a Gracie Award and La Femme Film Festival Rising Star Award recipient, 2012 Teen Choice, IMAGEN and an ALMA award nominee for her portrayal of ‘Adrian Lee’ on ABC Family’s critically acclaimed series “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” Francia Raisa continues to prove herself as a star on the rise. Francia was featured on the August 2012 cover of Backstage magazine as one of Young Hollywood’s top Latinos in American TV and Film, further proving she is a unique talent to watch.

Francia stars as the stunning Persian “Shahrzad”, the much coveted romantic lead, alongside  Ryan Guzman, in the cross cultural drama, Beyond Paradise, a poignant love story executive produced by Gill Holland (Sweet Land, Hurricane Streets, FLOW: For Love of Water, Spring Forward, Loggerheads), and written/produced/directed by J.J. Alani (David &  Layla.)

Francia was born and raised in Southern California to mother Virginia Almendarez of Mexico and father Maximo Renan Almendarez Coello of Honduras, (one of the most recognized radio personalities and #1 Latino DJs in Los Angeles). At the age of five, Francia began taking dance lessons to learn all styles from tap to jazz, acrobatics, hip- hop and Polynesian. In addition to dance, she trained in karate and ice-skating. Looking to expand her talents her junior year of high school, Francia decided to study both acting and modeling. She started to get noticed, and soon began to model for print ads and national commercials. A month into her senior year of high school, Francia booked her first lead role, starring opposite Hayden Panettiere in Bring it On: All or Nothing.

Not long after wrapping Bring it On, Francia booked the lead female role of MGM’s TV movie for ABC Family The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream, before ultimately landing her breakout role as ‘Adrian Lee,’ a series regular ABC Family’s award-winning The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Created by Brenda Hampton (7th Heaven), the program broke all records for an original series on the network, including taking the #1 spot in its time slot for cable TV when it premiered in summer of 2008. The show is one of the most popular teen TV shows on air. Up next, Francia will be seen on an upcoming episode of The Mindy Project, and she has been cast as a recurring player in The CW pilot The Company Town.

Adding to an even more exciting year, Francia stars as Tory Bell with WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin in the ABC Family original movie Christmas Bounty, produced by Michael Luisi (The Call) and WWE Studio. It  premieres on November 26 , 2013.

In addition to her success on television, the horror film Chastity Bites, in which Francia stars was released early November 2013 by Gravitas Ventures via  Warner Bros.

Francia resides in Los Angeles and continues to stay true to her dancing roots with weekly advanced classes at a dance studio in Hollywood. Francia strives to be a role model for all her female fans. In her spare time, she works to raise awareness on important causes such as hunger, domestic violence, sex trafficking and female empowerment.