Lauren Luna Velez (born 2 November 1964) is an American actress.
Her most notable roles include Detective Nina Moreno on Fox's New York Undercover (her first major television role), Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO's prison drama Oz, and Elena on ABC's comedy-drama Ugly Betty.
Vélez landed her first job performing in the national touring company of the musical Dreamgirls. Vélez also played understudy for actress Phylicia Rashad in Into the Woods, and she performed Off-Broadway in the productions of Much Ado About Nothing. In 1995, she made her film debut as Lisette Linares in the movie I Like It Like That and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award and The Desi Award for Best Lead Actress. She also acted in the feature film City Hall (1996), with Al Pacino. In 1997, Vélez starred in Buscando un Sueño, the first Spanish language film sanctioned by SAG.
In 2006, she won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2006 Long Island International Film Expo for her performance as Roseanne Crystal in the independent feature film, Serial. In 2010, she received the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).
Lauren's parents moved from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s to Brooklyn, NYC, where she was born. Her family later moved to Far Rockaway, Queens. She is the twin sister of actress Lorraine Vélez. The twins have five other sisters and one brother. After graduating from high school, she received a scholarship to attend the Alvin Ailey Dance School.
- Her father was a New York City police officer.