Nadine Velazquez, the übersexy Catalina from NBC's My Name I s Earl, has been featured on lists like USA Today's "Five rising stars to watch closely" and Variety's "Ten Actors to Watch." Oh yeah, and don't forget Maxim's 2007 "Hot 100"—she was No. 61. Here, Velazquez looks back at her days as a marketing student at Columbia College in Chicago, where bad hair was ubiquitous and graduation day couldn't arrive fast enough.
Name: Nadine Velazquez
Graduation Year: 2001
Favorite drink/midnight snack: Water, fries, and Doritos
Tell us about one thing you did in college that still makes you proud.I am the only one in my family to graduate college. It was a proud moment for me to receive a degree.
Which schools did you apply to?
Harvard, Yale, Princeton.
Did you get into all of them?
Yes, but my parents were told that I should go to an actual college instead of some "university."
What was the biggest obstacle you overcame in college?
The unknown. I had no idea what my passion was. I just walked a path knowing full well I had no idea what truly interested me.
Tell us one way in which college changed you.
I [learned I] could initiate and follow through on anything I set my mind to. No one at home was saying, "You better finish college, or else." It was more like, "Are you still in that college? How many years is college?"
If you could go back, what about college would you do differently?
I would immerse myself in art classes: dance, music, singing, acting, photography, painting. I wouldn't give it a second thought.
Why did you choose your major?
I couldn't decide on anything. I really wanted a degree, and I was a natural salesperson. So that made the most sense.
Were you involved in any activities on campus?
I simply wanted to get through college as quickly as humanly possible. I had no interest in extracurricular activities or anything that required me to be social. I was allergic to people.
Do you keep in touch with any of your college friends?
I made one real friend, Christine. She lives in Los Angeles now. That reminds me, I should give her a call sometime.
Were you a bookworm or a slacker?
Who was your role model back then?
Dr. Lester Brownlee, my journalism professor. He was inspiring and truly wanted the best for me.
What did you like the least about Columbia College ?
It was like the College of Bad Hair. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the average wind was 20 mph. I don't remember a single great hair day.
What were two things you did for the first time while in college?
Booked my first commercial, for McDonald's and wrote an awesome 20-page paper in one night.
What was your favorite hangout spot?
There was a diner a few doors down. I ate a bag of french fries every three hours.