Everyone's guilty of playing hooky now and then, and rising actresses are no exception. When Jamila Velazquez isn't belting notes on FOX's hit musical drama Empire—Velazquez plays Laura Calleros, love interest to rapper Hakeem Lyon—she jumps set and heads for her old New York City haunts. This time, Velazquez takes Sweet along as she gallivants from an exhibition of Op Art to her favorite place to read in Central Park, and more.
Everything You Need to Know About Jamila Velazquez in 60 Seconds
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Where You've Seen Her: As Sarita, a popular, but bitter girl on Twisted, ABC Family's 2013 mystery series; and Laura Calleros, an up-and-coming singer who catches the eye of a rap mogul on FOX's hit show Empire.
Where You'll See Her Next: She has a guest spot in the upcoming season of Orange is the New Black, which premieres next week.
Special Skills: Acting, singing, fluency in English and Spanish, songwriting (check out her heartbreak ballad "Nothing Like You").
Musical Inspirations: Cher, Fiona Apple, Drake, Shakira, Amanda Miguel, Alice in Chains, Ella Fitzgerald, and Future—this girl has a diverse musical palette!
"I just love interactive art; I think it's super cool. Any time I have free time, I like going to galleries."
Stop 1: El Museo del Barrio, a small museum uptown that celebrates Latino culture and has been a source of inspiration for Velazquez since she was six years old.
"I have an obsession with Judy Garland. She was one of the first people I ever heard sing when I was really young."
Stop 2: At Central Park's Conservatory Garden, Velazquez finds a quiet place to get a snack and catch up on her reading. Currently on her Kindle: a biography of one of Old Hollywood's most beloved stars.
"I did my first play [here], which was Annie. I only had one line."
Stop 3: Velazquez heads to the theater at the Boys and Girls Harbor School, where she first caught the acting bug in a very, very tiny role (but, hey, there are no small roles, just petite actors who work their way to FOX primetime).
Want more Jamila Velazquez? Look out for her guest spot in the upcoming season of Orange is the New Black—hitting Netflix on June 17.