Selenis Leyva
Selenis Leyva.jpg
Leyva at the 2014 Peabody Awards.
Years active1999–present

Selenis Leyva is an American actress. She is known for her role as Gloria Mendoza in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black (2013–19), and also starred on the Disney+ comedy-drama series Diary of a Future President (2020–21).

Life and career

Leyva was born and raised in The Bronx.[1] She is of Cuban and Dominican descent.[2] She has appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions.[3] On television, Leyva had a recurring role of Detective Mariluz Rivera in Law & Order, and also appeared in different roles on the show and on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She has guest-starred on Third Watch, The Sopranos, The Good Wife, Girls, and Elementary.

In 2013, Leyva began starring as Gloria Mendoza, a Latina leader in the jail, in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. Her character was recurring for the first two seasons and she was promoted to series regular in Season 3.[4][5] Along with cast, she received three Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. She also received ALMA Award for Outstanding Special Achievement in Television in 2014.[6] The series ended in 2019, after seven seasons. During her time in Orange Is the New Black, Leyva co-starred opposite Viola Davis and Catalina Sandino Moreno in the 2016 courtroom drama film Custody directed and written by James Lapine,[7] and played Monica Warren in the 2017 superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming.[8] In 2018, she had a supporting role in the Netflix miniseries Maniac.

In 2019, Leyva was cast in the Disney+ comedy-drama series Diary of a Future President produced by Gina Rodriguez.[9] The series premiered on January 17, 2020 and was cancelled in December 2021.


Leyva is the co-author, with her sister Marizol, of the book My Sister: How One Sibling's Transition Changed Us Both, which was published by Bold Type Books in March 2020.[10]

Personal life

Leyva has one daughter, Alina.[11] She is a supporter of the LGBT community and revealed in June 2015 that her sister Marizol is transgender.[11][12][13][14]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Debutante Daisy Dominguez
2002 Apartment #5C Luisa
2004 Maria Full of Grace Customs Inspector
2007 Illegal Tender Wanda
2007 Ben's Plan Maria
2009 Don't Let Me Drown Sonia
2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Additional Voices Voice
2010 Sex and the City 2 Teacher
2010 Trouble Child Trouble Child Short film
2011 Man in the Mirror Sonia Short film
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Additional Voices Voice
2013 Epic Additional Voices Voice
2014 Living with the Dead Dr. Quenda
2015 Chapter & Verse Yolanda
2016 Custody Jackie
2016 I Can I Will I Did Maria
2017 Spider-Man: Homecoming Monica Warren
2020 Shadows Pamela Short film
2022 Breaking Rosa Diaz
2022 Creed III Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Law & Order Louisa Episode: "Refuge: Part 2"
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lorinda Gutierrez Episode: "Hysteria"
2001 The $treet Kate Episode: "Junk Bonds"
2001 Law & Order DeeDee Salazar Episode: "Sunday in the Park with Jorge"
2001 Taina Titi Rose Recurring role, 6 episodes
2001 100 Centre Street Delfina Romero Episodes: "Kids: Part 1" and "Kids: Part 2"
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Isabella Costas Episode: "Homo Homini Lupis"
2003 Third Watch Phyllis Episode: "Goodbye to All That"
2004 Third Watch Gonzalez Episode: "Leap of Faith"
2004 Law & Order Nita Cabrera Episode: "Veteran's Day"
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Warden's Secretary Episode: "Prisoner"
2004–2006 Law & Order Detective Mariluz Rivera Recurring role, 18 episodes
2006 The Sopranos Jill Dibiaso Episode: "Live Free or Die"
2007 Dirty Sexy Money Detective Angelina Adams Episode: "Pilot"
2008 New Amsterdam Susan Boyle Episode: "Pilot"
2010 Law & Order Rona Henderson Episode: "Boy on Fire"
2010 The Good Wife Marisol Episode: "Doubt"
2010 The Whole Truth Claudia Episode: "Liars"
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Detective Mariluz Rivera Episode: "Icarus"
2011 Person of Interest Hosking Episode: "Number Crunch"
2011–2012 Blue Bloods Assistant M.E. Craig Recurring role, 4 episodes
2012 Girls Chastity Episode: "Hannah's Diary"
2012 Elementary Sara Castillo Episode: "Child Predator"
2013 The Following Detective Morales Episode: "Chapter Two"
2013–2019 Orange Is the New Black Gloria Mendoza Recurring role (seasons 1-2), series regular (seasons 3-7), 88 episodes
ALMA Award for Outstanding Special Achievement in Television (2014)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2015–2016)
Nomination — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2018)
2015 Madam Secretary Bolivian Ambassador Mariana Dominguez Episode: "The Time Is at Hand"
2015 Veep Governor Ramos Episode: "B/ill"
2018–2021 DuckTales Detective Cabrera Voice role; recurring
2018 Dietland Belle 2 episodes
2018 Maniac Patricia Lugo 3 episodes
2018 Murphy Brown Maria Gonzales Episode: "Thanksgiving and Taking"
2019 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Samantha Morgan Episode: "Facing Demons"
2020–2021 Diary of a Future President Gabi Cañero-Reed 20 episodes
2020–2021 Saved by the Bell Ms. Jimenez 3 episodes
2022 Our Flag Means Death Nana Episode: "This Is Happening"


  1. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (February 18, 2020). "Selenis Leyva's Clean Slate". New York Times.
  2. ^ "Selenis Leyva Explains Why 'Orange Is The New Black' Is A Huge Step For Latinas". 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  3. ^ "Lortel Archives-The Internet Off-Broadway Database". Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Nick Sandow & Selenis Leyva Upped To Regulars On 'Orange Is The New Black'; Damon Wayans Jr. On 'New Girl'". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  5. ^ "TV Casting News For Selenis Leyva, Jocko Sims, Damon Wayans Jr, RZA|Shadow and Act". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  6. ^ "Selenis Leyva". IMDb.
  7. ^ "'OITNB' Star Selenis Leyva Says Gloria Will 'Come Undone' In Season 3". The Huffington Post. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  8. ^ Cassidy, Mark (June 21, 2016). "OITNB Star Selenis Leyva Joins Spider-Man: Homecoming".
  9. ^ Pedersen, Erik (July 11, 2019). "'Diary Of A Future President': EP Gina Rodriguez To Recur As POTUS In Disney+ Series; Main Cast Set".
  10. ^ "Exclusive: Selenis Leyva Talks About Her Memoir Written With Her Transgender Sister Marizol". People en Español. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  11. ^ a b Serico, Chris (May 11, 2015). "'Orange is the New Black' star attends prom for ill teens -". Today. NBC. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  12. ^ Leyva, Selenis (June 3, 2015). "What Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair Cover Sparked For Me As Sister of Trans Woman | Selenis Leyva". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  13. ^ Nunez, Alanna (June 15, 2015). "Orange Is the New Black Star Selenis Leyva on Gloria, Motherhood, and Talking About Sex with Her Daughter". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  14. ^ Erazo, Vanessa (June 3, 2015). "'Orange is the New Black' Actress Reveals Her Sister Is a Transgender Woman?". Remezcla. Retrieved October 1, 2015.