Mónica Cruz Sánchez (born March 16, 1977) is an actress, dancer and model. Cruz was born the daughter of Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser, and Eduardo Cruz, a retailer and auto mechanic. Her sister Penelope Cruz is an actress, and brother Eduardo is a Spanish singer. Monica and her two siblings grew up in the predominantly working-class suburb of Alcobendas, just north of Madrid. The family may have lacked money, but they more than made up for it with the burgeoning talent contained within Monica and her sister, Penelope. The sisters distinguished themselves as promising young dancers, and they both received professional instruction; Penelope attended Spain’s National Conservatory, while Monica enrolled in The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) to study traditional ballet and flamenco.Upon graduating from the RAD, Monica joined Joaquin Cortés’ dance company. Cortés is one of the world’s top-rated flamenco dancers, and Monica stayed with his groundbreaking group for seven years until, in 2002, she decided to follow Penelope’s lead and become an actress. By 2005, Monica justified her career shift by becoming a star on the popular Spanish television show Un Paso adelante. She has since appeared in the films L’Inchiesta (2006), Last Hour (2006) -- a thriller starring Michael Madsen and DMX -- and Liolà (2007).