YAYA DACOSTA

American Actress and Model

Yaya DaCosta is New York born and bred and having fallen in love with acting in middle school due to an impactful drama teacher, actress Ann Willis Ratray, she has gone on to showcase her dynamic talent with powerful performances across film, television and stage. She gained popularity on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 3 as the runner up.

DaCosta can currently be seen as Andrea Freemann, a cut-throat prosecutor, in the second season of “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Based on the series of bestselling novels by Michael Connelly, “The Lincoln Lawyer” follows the redemption of Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles attorney who regains much of what he lost due to addiction with hard work and hustle. The 10-episode second season, in which DaCosta’s character goes head-to-head with Haller in trial, will be based on the fourth book in The Lincoln Lawyer series by Connelly, The Fifth Witness. The series is produced by A+E Studios for Netflix. DaCosta is currently filming season three of the show.

DaCosta recently starred in Fox’s drama series “Our Kind of People’ from writer/executive producer Karin Gist, executive producer Lee Daniels, 20th Television and Fox Entertainment.

She could be seen for six seasons as April Sexton on NBC’s drama “Chicago Med.” DaCosta starred in the jazz biopic “Bolden,” opposite Nelsan Ellis, Ian McShane and Gary Carr. In 2015, she played the title role in Lifetime’s Angela Bassett-directed Whitney Houston biopic, “Whitney.”

Additional film credits include Lee Daniel’s critically acclaimed film “The Butler,” with Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo; Oren Moverman’s acclaimed film “The Messenger,” with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster; Lisa Cholodenko’s Oscar-nominated “The Kids Are All Right” opposite Mark Ruffalo; Joseph Kosinski’s “Tron Legacy;” and Shane Black’s “The Nice Guys,” opposite Ryan Gosling, Matt Bomer and Russell Crowe.

DaCosta has also appeared in “In Time,” “Big Words,” “Mother of George” and John Sayles’ “Honeydripper,” co-starring Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton. She reunited with Dutton in the telefilm “Racing for Time,” which he also directed. DaCosta began her professional acting career as the lead in Liz Friedlander’s “Take the Lead,” opposite Antonio Banderas.

She has had guest-starring roles on a variety of TV series, including the final season of “Ugly Betty,” as well as appearances on “House,” “Body of Proof,” “Army Wives,” “Mercy,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Eve.”

DaCosta’s theater work has included the passionate portrayal of Olivia in the Sonnet Repertory Theater’s production of “Twelfth Night,” and a co-starring role with Leslie Uggams in the Signature Theater Co.’s revival production of Leslie Lee’s “The First Breeze of Summer,” directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. For her performance, she was honored with a Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre.

In addition to acting, DaCosta participates in speaking engagements at universities on subjects ranging from environmentalism to diversity and representation in the arts . She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Africana Studies from Brown University. A perpetual learner, one of Yaya’s other passions is birth work, having been a prenatal and postpartum doula since 2010. She is a proud mother of one and an advocate for breastfeeding and maternal health. She is launching her long-awaited line of head wraps in June of 2024.