Cindy Vela is an American model, actor, and saxophonist of Mexican descent, best known for her performances in films such as ‘Black November’ and ‘Endgame.’ Ever since she was a kid, she wanted to become a musician. She was trained at the ‘University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College’ and graduated with a BA degree in music education. In 2000, she entered the ‘Miss Latina’ contest and won the first prize. She was discovered by a photographer while she was in college. Soon, she made a move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling and acting. She made her acting debut in 2005, with a small uncredited role in the film ‘Puños Rosas.’ Over the next few years, she appeared in many Mexican–American productions such as ‘Harvest of Redemption,’ ‘Desdemona: A Love Story,’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill.’ She has also appeared in music videos for artists such as Daddy Yankee and Carlos Santana. She has also worked actively as a model and has appeared on the covers of magazines such as ‘Bella Petite’ and ‘L’Estilo’.
Childhood & Early Life
Cindy Vela was born on January 4, 1979, in Brownsville, Texas, US, to Fred and Lupita Vela. She grew up with her brother, Freddy Vela, in a place named Olmito in Cameron County, Texas. Hers was a big, close-knit joint family.
Ever since she was a kid, she was interested in music. It was at the end of her fifth grade in school that she first thought about joining the school band. She wanted to learn instruments such as the flute and the clarinet.
Her love for music was ignited when her father gifted her a family-owned saxophone. Cindy became obsessed with it and played the saxophone in the school band. All through her school years, she participated in many music competitions and won a few of them. However, her parents also asked her to focus on her education and prioritize academics.
She toured around the country with her school band. Till then, she was not really interested in making a professional career in music. She graduated from ‘Los Fresnos High School’ and enrolled at the ‘University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.’
She also joined the college band at the ‘University of Texas.’ She had listened to country and jazz music all her life and had also played jazz for her school band. She asked her college’s jazz professor about joining the college band. He suggested she join the college’s music program first. Hence, she graduated with a BA degree in music education.
Following her college education, she worked briefly as a band director at the ‘Harlingen High School’ and the ‘Memorial Middle School.’ Also interested in beauty pageants, she simultaneously continued to try her luck in that domain, too.
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In 2000, she decided to enter the ‘Miss Latina’ beauty pageant, and for that, she needed to send a few photographs. She found a photographer who agreed to shoot the photos for free. She won the competition, and as a prize, she was sent to work as a model for a clothing company. More photographers took notice of her, and as she worked with better photographers, her work started getting noticed more.
Following a few more offers, she moved to Los Angeles. During the early years of modeling, she appeared as a brand ambassador for many popular brands, such as ‘Motorola,’ ‘Wells Fargo,’ and ‘Kellogg’s.’ A product shoot for the popular ‘Special K’ cereal required her to wear a dress designed by ace designer Ximena Valero. Cindy was handpicked by the designer among hundreds of aspirants.
This massive start in modeling made it easy for her to start a career in acting. In 2005, she made her acting debut with a small role in the Mexican film titled ‘Puños Rosas,’ which featured her in the role of ‘La Gritona.’
She then appeared in small roles in films such as ‘Hollywood Familia,’ ‘Harvest of Redemption,’ and ‘Ready or Not.’ She was mostly getting selected for small roles in American–Mexican productions.
In 2009, she had a major career breakthrough when she earned the lead role of ‘Desdemona’ in the independent film ‘Desdemona: A Love Story.’ The film caused a stir at many national and international film festivals, winning the ‘Best Feature Film’ award at the ‘Boston International Film Festival.’ Her performance also received humongous critical acclaim.
In 2010, she appeared in a short film titled ‘Exhibit B-5.’ The video became viral on ‘YouTube,’ as many people thought it was a real video. It showed Cindy being hit by a car as part of a prank set up by her roommates. The video became an international sensation, and as a result, Cindy received interview requests from many international media outlets, such as ‘Herald de Paris.’
In 2012, Cindy appeared in a supporting role in five episodes of the series ‘La Chamba.’ Later that year, she appeared in the supporting role of ‘Agent Consuelos’ in the big-budget film ‘Black November.’
After starring in multiple small films such as ‘The Polterguys,’ ‘News Burrito,’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,’ she appeared in a supporting role in the film titled ‘Endgame’ in 2015. She appeared in the film ‘Camino’ the same year, playing a small role of a news reporter.
While her acting career has mostly remained low-key, she has had a thriving modeling career. She has been on the covers of magazines such as ‘Bella Petite’ and ‘L’Estilo.’ Popular artist George Yepes has had Cindy as his muse for many of his artworks.
In addition, Cindy has also appeared in music videos for artists such as Daddy Yankee and Carlos Santana.
Family & Personal Life
Cindy Vela and actor Kiefer Sutherland started dating in 2014. They kept their relationship a secret for many years. However, they could not stop rumors about their relationship. The couple eventually announced their engagement in 2017.
Cindy is a huge fan of the ‘Harry Potter’ film series.