Before she was running her own empire -- on TV, anyway -- she intended to study electrical engineering before switching gears and deciding to study theatre at Howard University.
She had tons of small TV roles before really bursting to stardom ... cemented with an Academy Award nomination for her role on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Before that, she was cast in a couple of critically-acclaimed movies. Her career would later skyrocket after taking on a role as a pioneering woman in the space industry. She was born in the rough streets of Washington, D.C. and has one child.