Idara Victor is an American stage and television actress known for her recurring roles in Rizzoli & Isles and Turn: Washington's Spies.
Life and work
Idara Victor was born in Brooklyn, New York,to Barbara and Stan Victor, both from southern Nigeria, and she is the middle child of three girls, who grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island. Idara "was probably the loudest of the siblings", and started dancing and playing piano at the age of eight, that led to her singing for the first time at 15 and going singing an opera aria. At the age of 13 she won the Miss New York Junior Teen contest. She was discovered by an agent at a fashion show commitment, and pushed towards a career in modeling, but she intended to start acting. As a result of her academic achievements, she was enrolled in the undergrade program of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied entrepreneurial management and marketing. With friends she performed plays in parks around Philadelphia and privately studied acting.
Theatre, dance and music
At the UoP she still performed Shakespeare readings and danced with the acclaimed dance troupe African Rhythms West African ballet and Afro-Cuban dance on her free time. When Victor graduated, she left a starter job at the In Style magazine, started making music with her friend Mike "Double-O" (Kidz In The Hall). Back in New York City, she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, while her friends were trained at the Tisch School of the Arts, and her friend Hyun Kim linked her up with the Nigerian-American actressAdepero Oduye. To finance her studies, she provided an online clothing store called Girled-Out, and also trained daily with actors from all over the world. As she watched Cate Blanchett in a movie, "the truth would grip me, I would think, I'm dying - my heart has definitely stopped, and if I don't get to get up there and do it too, I might as well just keep it off permanently." John Caird introduced her into NY Theatre scene, hiring Victor for her first Broadway show, the revival of Les Misérables – "an amazing thing I learned was that when I went on as Cosette, I was the first African-American woman to ever play the role in the show's 20 years of running". Idara Victor continued working in NYC, and soon booked work within the same year at The Public Theater (The Bacchae), Lincoln Center (Happiness), and the Roundabout Theater Company (The Tin Pan Alley Rag), to work with the directors Susan Stroman, Joanne Akalaitis, James Lapine, Stafford Arima and Tina Landau. Idara Victor is a natural operatic soprano, also sang Joplin's ragtime opera Treemonisha, and performed at the 85th Academy Awards.
Television and film
While on stage at the Broadway, in 2004 Idara Victor first appeared in Not Just Yet and in the television series Starved in 2005. Thereafter she played in television series, among them Guiding Light, The Young and the Restless, Unicorn Plan-It, Vegas (3 episodes in 2013) and Choir (8 episodes in 2013) in recurring roles. She also appeared in Law & Order, Mad Men, Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy.
Since August 2014, her probably best known role is the recurring character Nina Holiday, crime scene analyst and IT tech of the Boston Police Department, in the US crime-series Rizzoli & Isles. Idara Victor became a member of the regular cast of the season 6, replacing the late Lee Thompson Young. In addition to her role as Nina Holiday, Victor has a recurring role on the AMC drama Turn: Washington's Spies.