Yaya DaCosta is an American model and actress who rose to fame as the runner-up on the third season of the reality competition series America's Next Top Model, in 2004. She was 21 years old at the time of the show.
Since then, Yaya has embarked on an acting career, with notable roles in All My Children (2008) and Ugly Betty (2009).
New York born and bred, DaCosta appeared in Lifetime's I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story in the title role, which was directed by Angela Bassett. She also joined the jazz biopic Bolden, opposite Nelsan Ellis and Ian McShane.
Big-screen credits include Lee Daniels' The Butler, co-starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo; Oren Moverman's The Messenger with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster; Lisa Cholodenko's Oscar-nominated film The Kids Are All Right opposite Mark Ruffalo; and Joseph Kosinski's TRON: Legacy.
DaCosta has also appeared in Andrew Niccol's sci-fi thriller In Time, opposite Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake; Neil Drumming's Big Words; and Andrew Dosunmu's Mother of George. She also played the female lead in John Sayles' Honeydripper, co-starring Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton. She then reunited with Dutton in the telefilm Racing for Time, which Dutton also directed.
DaCosta began her professional acting career starring in Liz Friedlander's Take the Lead, opposite Antonio Banderas, for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination.
She has had guest-starring roles on a variety of TV series, most notably the final season of Ugly Betty, portraying the duplicitous daughter of Vanessa Williams' character. She also had a role on the daytime drama All My Children, as well as appearances on House, Body of Proof, Army Wives, Mercy, Law & Order: SVU and Eve.
DaCosta's theatre work includes a portrayal of Olivia in the Sonnet Repertory Theater's production of Twelfth Night and a co-starring role with Leslie Uggams in the Signature Theater Co.'s revival production of Leslie Lee's The First Breeze of Summer, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, for which DaCosta was honored with a Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre.
DaCosta holds a B.A. in International Relations and Africana Studies from Brown University.
In 2015 she landed her first starring role in television as April Sexton, a smart, bold intuitive ER nurse who is the lifeblood of the ER, loves the action inside the hospital and is as loyal as they come, on NBC's medical drama series Chicago Med.