Model-turned-actress Cameron Diaz seemed to come out of nowhere when she made her 1994 screen debut opposite Jim Carrey in The Mask. However, her unusual beauty -- the result of her Cuban-American and Anglo-German-Native-American parentage -- helped to ensure that she would not be soon forgotten.
Born in San Diego, CA, on August 30, 1972, Diaz left school at 16 to become a model. For the next five years, she traveled the globe, working in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, and Paris. As a model for the Elite Agency, she did commercial work for such products as Coke, Nivea, and L.A. Gear. She returned to California at the age of 21 and was unknown in the film industry when cast in her breakthrough role as the target of Jim Carrey's hyper-animated lust in The Mask. Following the hoopla surrounding her performance -- or, more specifically, her physical appearance -- in the film, Diaz opted to take acting lessons and appear in a series of small, independent films, including The Last Supper (1995), She's the One (1996), and Feeling Minnesota (1996).