Monica Barbaro

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Monica Barbaro
Monica Barbaro Flies with Blue Angels (1) (cropped).jpg
Barbaro in 2022
Born (1990-06-18) June 18, 1990 (age 32)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Years active2013–present

Monica Barbaro (born June 18, 1990) is an American actress. She is known for her film roles in The Cathedral (2021), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), and At Midnight (2023). She has also appeared in leading roles in the television series UnREAL (2016), Chicago Justice (2017), The Good Cop (2018), and FUBAR (2023).

Early life

Barbaro was born on June 18, 1990,[1][2] in San Francisco. She grew up in Mill Valley, California, where she graduated from Tamalpais High School in 2007.[2][3] Her parents divorced when she was a child.[3] Barbaro started dancing at an early age and went on to study ballet. While taking electives in acting, she completed a degree in dance at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City.[4] After graduating in 2010, she decided to pursue acting and returned to San Francisco.[5] There, she booked a commercial,[5] a short film,[5] connected with an agent,[5] and attended the Beverly Hills Playhouse acting school.[3]


Barbaro gained attention in 2013 for her lead role in It's Not About the Nail, a viral comedy short about communication in a marriage.[6][7] Her first major television role was portraying the character of Yael on the second season of the Lifetime television series UnREAL.[8] Following UnREAL, Barbaro joined the cast of NBC legal drama Chicago Justice, an entry in Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise,[9] in which she portrayed Anna Valdez.[10] In 2018, Barbaro also played Cora Vasquez on Netflix's The Good Cop, alongside Josh Groban and Tony Danza. Between 2018 and 2019, Barbaro had a recurring part in the ABC sitcom Splitting Up Together.[11] In the 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, Barbaro portrayed Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace, a naval aviator.[12]

The following year Barbaro starred in the romantic comedy At Midnight (2023). The film received mixed reviews for its story but Barbaro earned acclaim for her performance. San Francisco Chronicle declared "Barbaro...proves with seemingly effortless charm that she can carry a rom-com".[13] Barbaro, a professional dancer, was able to lend her talents in a scene that involved the two leads dancing a combination of salsa and the tango.[14]

In 2023 it was announced that she would play activist and folk singer Joan Baez in the James Mangold directed Bob Dylan biopic A Complete Unknown, starring Timothee Chalamet.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
2013 Bullish Eva
2021 The Cathedral Lydia Damrosch
2022 Top Gun: Maverick Natasha "Phoenix" Trace
I'm Charlie Walker Peggy
2023 At Midnight Sophie Wilder


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Stitchers Brenda 'Bentley' Miller Episode: "The Root of All Evil"
2016 Hawaii Five-0 Ella Koha Episode: "Ke Koa Lokomaika'i"
2016 Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life Attractive Girl Episode "How to Survive Working with Friends"
2016 Unreal Yael Main role (season 2), 10 episodes
2016 Notorious Chloe Edwards Episode: "Tell Me a Secret"
2016–2017 Chicago P.D. Assistant State's Attorney Anna Valdez 4 episodes
2017 Chicago Justice Assistant State's Attorney Anna Valdez Main role
2017 Lethal Weapon Nora Cooper Episode: "Flight Risk"
2018 The Good Cop Cora Vasquez Main role
2018–2019 Splitting Up Together Lisa Apple Recurring role
2019 Stumptown Liz Melero 4 episodes
2023 FUBAR Emma Brunner Main role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2023 Forspoken Auden Keen (voice) [16]


  1. ^ Barbaro, Monica [@monicabarbaro] (June 18, 2022). "🎈". Retrieved September 19, 2022 – via Instagram.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, G. Allen (May 26, 2022). "Bay Area actress went through grueling 'boot camp' with Tom Cruise for 'Top Gun: Maverick'". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications, Inc. Archived from the original on June 3, 2022. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Elder, Mike (September 24, 2017). "BA #198: Monica Barbaro". Box Angeles (Podcast). Archived from the original on June 14, 2022. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  4. ^ Edworthy, Sarah (May 29, 2020). "Interview: Monica Barbaro". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on August 26, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Zuckerman, Esther (June 20, 2016). "Hot Rachel From "UnREAL" Talks Breaking Into Acting and Playing a Manipulator". Cosmopolitan. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  6. ^ Gray, Joslyn (June 6, 2013). "Viral Video: 'It's Not About the Nail' Is a Hilarious Look at Marriage". Babble. Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Saperstein, Pat (June 29, 2013). "Variety's Picks: 15 Symptoms of Life in L.A., New Burt Bacharach Book, Goodie Mob Album, More". Variety. Archived from the original on June 22, 2022. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  8. ^ Boardman, Madeline (June 3, 2016). "'UnREAL': Before They Were Stars". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 15, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 25, 2016). "Chicago Justice's Monica Barbaro Cast as Series Regular". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Stephens, Stephanie (February 8, 2017). "Chicago Justice's Monica Barbaro Dancing Her Way into Dream Role". Parade. Archived from the original on November 25, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Dayani, Aahil (April 18, 2022). "What Has Monica Barbaro Been Up To Since Chicago Justice Was Canceled?". Looper. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  12. ^ Gilchrist, Todd (June 3, 2022). "How Top Gun: Maverick star Monica Barbaro developed a pilot's swagger". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  13. ^ Johnson, G. Allen (February 9, 2023). "Review: Bay Area-born Monica Barbaro shines in sappy rom-com 'At Midnight'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 10, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  14. ^ Busch, Jenna (February 9, 2023). "At Midnight's Monica Barbaro On Dancing, Superhero Films, And Top Gun: Maverick [Exclusive Interview]". Slash Film. Archived from the original on February 9, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  15. ^ Strauss, Matthew (April 27, 2023). "Monica Barbaro to Play Joan Baez in New Bob Dylan Movie A Complete Unknown". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 27, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Saunders, Toby (January 25, 2023). "Forspoken cast: Full list of voice actors & where you know them from". Radio Times. Archived from the original on January 27, 2023. Retrieved January 27, 2023.

External links