Yaya DaCosta is a former model turned actress who is best known for portraying late singer Whitney Houston in ‘Whitney’ (2015) and April Sexton in television series ‘Chicago Med’ (2015 – Present).
The American actress, who is of African-Brazilian and African-American descent, was a runner-up in the third cycle of Tyra Banks‘ America’s Next Top Model (2004) before going to have a somewhat successful career in modelling and acting. Read on to find out more about her personal life, marriage, and other endeavours.
Who Is Yaya DaCosta?
Yaya DaCosta was born Camara DaCosta Johnson to Carl Awolowo Johnson and Orundun Dacosta Johnson on November 15, 1982, in Harlem, New York where she was raised along with her sister and two brothers.
DaCosta did her high school at the elite Northfield Mount Hermon School where she began acting. Thanks to further encouragement from her drama teacher who prompted her to audition for major television roles as she was already stealing shows while performing in school, DaCosta landed her first acting job at the age of eleven.
Despite showing signs of being able to forge a career from acting, Yaya DaCosta chose to not attend any formal arts or acting school to further hone her craft. She instead chose to attend Ivy League Brown University where she majored in Africana Studies and International Relations.
After graduating, DaCosta looked to forge a career in modelling and was subsequently selected to partake in the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model, where she was runner-up to actress Eva Marcille. She however still managed to have a successful modelling career, appearing in ads for companies like Sephora, Radioshack, Garnier Fructis, and Oil of Olay, among others.
In 2006, Yaya DaCosta made her feature film acting debut in ‘Take the Lead’ opposite Rob Brown and Antonio Banderas after having made a guest appearance in the sitcom ‘Eve’ (2005). While working on other independent projects like John Sayles’ ‘Honeydripper’ (2007) and ABC studios’ soap opera, ‘All My Children’ (2008), DaCosta made her Off-Broadway debut at The Signature Theater in 2008 in “The First Breeze of Summer”. Her performance on the stage garnered her rave reviews as she also won the Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theater.
After that, DaCosta went on to appear as Nico Slater in the final season of the comedy-drama series ‘Ugly Betty’ (2009), then in Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy-drama film ‘The Kids Are All Right’ (2010), where she played Mark Ruffalo’s occasional lover, and then in the sci-fi film ‘Tron: Legacy’ (2010).
In the early 2010s, DaCosta briefly stepped back into modelling, appearing on the cover of American fashion magazine W as well as other distinguished magazines like Vogue and L’Officiel. She also continued to appear in movies like ‘In Time’ (2011), ‘Whole Lotta Sole’ (2011), The Butler (2013) with Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey before being cast as Whitney Houston in what was actress Angela Bassett’s directorial debut.
From 2015, DaCosta started playing April Sexton in Dick Wolf’s Chicago Med as she also seeks out other challenging movie roles.
Meet Yaya DaCosta’s Husband (Joshua Bee Alafia)
Yaya DaCosta was previously married to Joshua Bee Alafia, who works as an independent movie producer and director. He is known for movies like ‘Cubamor’ (2001), ‘The Seed’ (2010) and ‘Se Safando’ (2012).
The duo reportedly exchanged vows on June 26, 2012, in Pennsylvania after which they welcomed a son named Sankara Alafia in September 2013. After just two years of marriage, the couple separated in 2014 with DaCosta said to have gone ahead to file for divorce from Alafia on November 12, 2015.
However, in an unforeseen plot twist to the DaCosta – Alafia relationship saga, Yaya DaCosta revelled to African American women’s lifestyle magazine, madamenoire.com who asked her about the divorce to which she said that she and her supposed estranged husband were not actually married. she further added that they were in a relationship which ended after she gave birth to his child.
Her Height, Weight & Body Measurements
Birth Name: Camara DaCosta Johnson
Date of Birth: November 15, 1982
Place of Birth: Harlem, New York
Profession(s): Model, Actress
Weight: 56kg (123lbs)
Height: 5 feet 8 inches (1.73m)
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Body Measurements: 33-23-34 inches (84-58.5-86 cm)
Breast/Bra Size: 33 inches (84 cm)/ 32 C
Waist Size: 23 inches (58.5 cm)
Hips Size: 34 inches (86 cm)
Shoe Size: 8 US
Dress Size: 2 US