Popular Sopranos actress Drea de Matteo’s unique blend of Italian-American sensuality and unpretentious rock & roll-girl chic has found her ascending the ranks to become one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. Though de Matteo’s role on The Sopranos was originally intended to be little more than a one-time appearance, her undeniable screen presence soon found her returning to the role of Jersey girl-turned-Mafioso moll Adriana La Cerva in the popular HBO crime drama. Oddly enough, it was stage legend Andrew Lloyd Webber who first sparked showbiz aspirations in the Queens native. When de Matteo was around ten years old, Rum Tum Tugger whisked her on-stage during a performance of Webber’s enduring stage musical Cats; the jarring experience proved alternately petrifying and compelling for de Matteo, and the intoxicating glow of the spotlight immediately cast its spell on the young showbiz hopeful. With a mother who worked as a screenwriter, young de Matteo was no stranger to the business, and though she would become something of a wild child during her teens, she never lost sight of her starstruck dreams. When it came time to pursue higher education, she set her sights on N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts. Though de Matteo initially intended to become a director, her acting talents quickly caught the eyes of casting agents.
In 1996, de Matteo made her feature debut in the romantic comedy The “M” Word, and though the film would go largely unseen, her next role provided just the breakthrough needed to boost her career. Though the actress never expected her part in The Sopranos to go beyond one episode, the casting agents were quick to make her a regular player on the Emmy-winning series. Subsequent roles in such independent films as Meet Prince Charming (1999) and Sleepwalk (2000) gained little more attention than The “M” Word had, but de Matteo was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of working with Bad Lieutenant director Abel Ferrara when she appeared in the director’s 2001 crime drama ‘R Xmas. If de Matteo’s feature career had gone virtually unnoticed by mainstream filmgoers to this point, roles in such wide releases as Swordfish (2001) and Deuces Wild (2002) soon found her star rising. In 2003, she was finally given the opportunity to live out her rock-star dreams by strumming the bass in director Alex Steyermark’s musical drama Prey for Rock & Roll. An association with actress Jenny McCarthy (whom de Matteo had previously acted alongside in 2001’s The Perfect You) next led to an appearance opposite the former MTV girl and Playboy Playmate in the 2003 romantic comedy Dirty Love. In 2004, de Matteo went back in front of the camera for Steyermark in the true-crime drama West Memphis Three (which was inspired by the events covered in the documentary Paradise Lost). The following year, de Matteo could be seen in prominent roles in Ferrara’s Go Go Tales and the action remake Assault on Precinct 13. In addition to her film and television career, de Matteo also owns Filth Mart, a popular New York City rock-chic clothing boutique.