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Today's birthday, August 12

AAP logoAAP 11/08/2016

Today's Birthday, August 12: Natalie Mendoza, Australian actress, (1978-)

Theatre-trained actress and singer Natalie Mendoza has spent almost two decades performing on stage and screen, rising to global fame in the British television drama Hotel Babylon.

Born on August 11, 1978, in Hong Kong, Mendoza grew up in a very artistic family, with her mother an actress and father a musician.

While most of her childhood was split between Australia and South East Asia, the aspiring actress spent her school years in the inner suburbs of Melbourne.

Mendoza was just a teenager when cast in some of the country's biggest productions, including Cats the Musical.

In 1995, she scored the lead understudy role in Miss Saigon while also playing a minor part in the Sydney production.

She went on to star as the lead soloist in the The Music of Lloyd Webber Concert Tour, and as the lead dancer in Sweet Charity.

Her performances earned her a spot in the cast of Les Miserables' 10th anniversary tour across Australasia, at the age of 19.

A year later, she teamed up with her sister Rebecca to form the band Jackson Mendoza, with whom she released two top 30 singles.

The pair toured around the country until 2000, but disbanded to allow Mendoza to pursue a career on-screen.

After appearing in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! in 2001, the actress filmed several US series including Farscape, South Pacific and the movie The Great Raid.

She then moved to London to take up numerous theatre roles and the female lead in the 2005 thriller film The Descent.

Mendoza's three-season appearance in the British drama Hotel Babylon in 2006 dramatically boosted her profile both in Australia and the UK.

Since then, she has delved into various projects including fashion design and multimedia production.

Mendoza returned to theatre after she was injured during a rehearsal of the Broadway production titled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

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