Real name: Tatyana Marisol Ali
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Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress and R&B singer, perhaps best known for her role as Ashley Banks in the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Ali was born in Long Island, New York, daughter of Sonia, a nurse, and Sheriff Ali, a police detective. Her mother is a native of Panama and her father is of Indian descent from Trinidad and Tobago. She has two younger sisters, Anastasia and Kimberly. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
She attended Marymount High School in West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, and The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California. In 2002, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Harvard University.
By the age of four, Ali had begun her singing career. She also appeared with Herbie Hancock on an episode of Sesame Street. By age seven, she won the Star Search television contest two times. Her breakthrough came when she was cast as Ashley Banks for the popular television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She sang on various episodes of the show. On one of the shows Ali sings Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and the original song "Make Up Your Mind", Will Smith asked her if she seriously considered pursuing a musical career. Despite her singing ability, she concentrated on her acting career on Fresh Prince the next few years. Ali was said to be closest to her co-star Janet Hubert-Whitten.
In the penultimate season of Fresh Prince, Ali began preparing herself for her musical debut. The result was the album Kiss The Sky, which was certified gold in early 1999. The album spawned the hit song Daydreamin', produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the UK Singles Chart. The album spawned two further UK hits, "Boy You Knock Me Out", featuring Will Smith, which peaked at #3 and is her biggest hit to date there; and "Everytime", which was her third top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at #20. Also with Will Smith, she made an appearance in his album Willennium for the track "Who Am I" with MC Lyte.
As of 2005, she completed work on the film Glory Road and starred in the music video for Nick Cannon and Anthony Hamilton's "Can I Live?" as Cannon's mother.
In 2007, she appeared in the short films Wilted, How To Have A Girl, The Malibu Myth, and First Sight which were made during the reality show On the Lot. She will debut on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.
Ali once dated American actor Jonathan Brandis, with whom she co-starred in the TV movie Fall into Darkness. She was also linked to R&B singer, Tevin Campbell back in the 90's. She was also romantically linked to Justin Timberlake. Ali is a huge Boston Red Sox fan.