Just who is Alisha Wainwright – the actress who everyone is talking about? The 30-year-old Shadowhunters star was thrust into the spotlight at the weekend after photos and videos surfaced of her hanging out with her Palmer co-star Justin Timberlake and a group of the cast and crew in New Orleans. Alisha and Justin – who has been married to Jessica Biel since 2012 – at one point seem to hold hands in the clip. A source told People that the interaction between the workmates was “totally innocent." They added: “The video may look a way, but literally it was nothing. It was some friends, members of the team, crew and people like that. They all know each other and were hanging. Like come on, they’re on an open balcony in New Orleans and he’s famous. It was nothing."
Here are five things to know about Alisha:
She has Jamaican and Haitian roots:
Alisha was born in Florida on July 14, 1989. Her mom is from Jamaica and her father is from Haiti. "Growing up I spent a lot of my very early years going back and forth between both countries," she told Condé Nast Traveler. "I remember Jamaica being full of fresh fruit and family and greenery and positivity. Jamaican cultures always err on the side of having that 'take it easy'' vibe. My first meaningful memories of traveling to Haiti are from when I was a little older—like five or six. That was the first time I saw what impoverishment looked like, and how different someone's life could be from my own—someone who's right outside my front door."
Her biggest influence – and her biggest fan – is her mom:
"Your mother is your guiding light into the world. That's how I think about my mom," she told Shondaland.com in October. "My mom is an accountant and she's Jamaican. She's proud and excited that I took a chance on acting and it worked out. She's on board and is my biggest fan."
Acting wasn’t her first choice career
Fans may be surprised to learn Alisha studied winemaking and botany at the University of Florida but couldn’t follow up with a PhD because she couldn’t get funding. "I had a very weird anthropological-botanical focus, and I couldn’t find anyone to give me the money to study it,” she told W magazine. "I had to shift my focus to something a little broader, and I wasn’t as interested in it."
She loves boxing to stay in shape
One look at Alisha’s social media reveals her love for boxing – and she’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in the ring. In one video from the summer, she can be seen putting a sparring partner through his paces.
She’s a travel enthusiast
Alisha’s childhood trips seem to have instilled a love of traveling in her soul. Her busy schedule means she can’t spend so much time seeing the world but she still tries to get away when she can. “When I do travel I want it to be purposeful. I want to feel like I’m traveling with intention,” she told Conde Nast Traveler. “I recently took a week off and went on a scuba diving trip to Bali by myself—I was super overwhelmed with my work schedule at the time and I wanted to decompress a little bit. Sometimes you need a trip like that.”