Nia Long (born October 30, 1970) is an actress and sometimes music video director from the United States. She is most known for her performances in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch on television, as well as the films Soul Food, Love Jones, The Best Man, Big Momma’s House, and Are We There Yet? Long was born in Brooklyn, New York, in the United States. Her ancestors are Afro-Trinidadians.

Nia is one of the seven Kwanzaa days, which means “purpose” in Swahili. Long’s parents split when she was two years old, and she relocated to Iowa City, Iowa, with her mother. When Long was seven, the family relocated to a South Los Angeles area. Long’s father now lives in Trenton, New Jersey.

Long’s half-sister, comedienne Sommore, is one of The Queens of Comedy’s stars. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, guitar, and acting at St. Mary’s Academy, a Roman Catholic institution. In 1989, she graduated from Westchester High School. Betty Bridges, the mother of Diff’rent Strokes star Todd Bridges, was Long’s acting instructor.

Her first part was in the Disney television film The B.R.A.T Patrol, where she co-starred in with Sean Astin, Tim Thomerson, and Brian Keith. Her first famous television role was as Kathryn “Kat” Speakes on the serial series Guiding Light for three years.

Long played Kat from 1991 to 1994, then Will Smith’s girlfriend and fiancée Beulah “Lisa” Wilkes on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1994 to 1995.


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