New York born and bred, Yaya DaCosta has showcased her versatility as an actress with powerful performances across film, television and stage.
Most recently, DaCosta joined jazz biopic “Bolden” opposite Nelsan Ellis, Ian McShane and Gary Carr. Buddy Bolden was a New Orleans cornet player who was a key figure in the development of ragtime music. In the film, she plays Nora Bass Bolden, Buddy’s wife.
DaCosta was previously seen in Lee Daniel’s critically acclaimed film “The Butler” as part of a stellar ensemble including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Her prior screen roles include Oren Moverman’s acclaimed film “The Messenger” with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster; Lisa Cholodenko’s Academy Award® nominated film “The Kids Are All Right” opposite Mark Ruffalo; and Joseph Kosinski’s “Tron Legacy.”
DaCosta has also appeared in such films as Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller, “In Time,” opposite Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake; Neil Drumming’s “Big Words” and Andrew Dornsumo’s “Mother of George.” DaCosta played the female lead in John Sayles’ “Honeydripper,” in which she starred opposite Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton. She then reunited with Dutton in the Lifetime Original Movie “Racing for Time,” which Dutton also directed. DaCosta began her professional acting career starring in Liz Friedlander’s “Take the Lead” opposite Antonio Banderas for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination.
In television, DaCosta has guest starred on various shows, most notably with a recurring role and story arc in the final season of “Ugly Betty,” portraying the duplicitous daughter of Vanessa Williams’ character. She also had a recurring role on the daytime drama “All My Children,” as well as appearances on “House,” “Body of Proof,” Lifetime’s “Army Wives,” “Mercy,” “Law and Order SVU” and “Eve.”
DaCosta’s theater work includes a 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 Company’s revival production of Leslie Lee’s “The First Breeze of Summer,” directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. For her performance, DaCosta was honored with a Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre.
In addition to acting, DaCosta has done speaking engagements at colleges on subjects ranging from environmentalism to women’s issues. She holds a BA in International Relations and Africana Studies from Brown University.