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Dawn Olivieri: From Chemistry Major to Award-Winning Actress

Dawn Olivieri’s Background and Career

Dawn Olivieri is a talented actress known for her remarkable acting skills and ability to play diverse roles. Her journey from a chemistry major to an accomplished actress is a fascinating story that inspires many.

Early Life and Education

Born in Seminole, Florida, on February 8, 1981, Dawn Olivieri grew up in a family of Italian and Spanish descent. She went to the University of Florida, where she pursued a degree in Chemistry.

However, her passion for acting led her to participate in theatrical productions on campus, and this experience ignited her desire to become an actress.

Acting Career and Notable Roles

After college, Dawn moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. She started by appearing in commercials and TV shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and How I Met Your Mother.

However, her big break came in 2009 when she landed a recurring role in the hit TV series, Heroes. She played the character of Lydia, a tattoo artist with a unique ability to see the future through her tattoos.

Dawn’s performance as Lydia garnered critical acclaim and opened doors to more prominent opportunities. In 2012, she joined the cast of the Showtime series, House of Lies, playing the character of Monica Talbot, a management consultant.

Her role in House of Lies earned her recognition from both audiences and critics, having been nominated for the “Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” and “Best Performance in a Guest Role” Awards by the NAACP Image Awards. Dawn Olivieri’s piercing blue eyes and intense acting skills continued to draw attention from Hollywood filmmakers, with her next notable role being in the drama series, Yellowstone.

In the series, she plays the strong-headed, Claire Dutton, daughter-in-law to the lead character, John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner.

Notable Filmography

Television Roles

  • The Vampire Diaries: Dawn played the role of Andie Star, a news reporter, in seven episodes of the supernatural drama series.
  • Heroes: As previously mentioned, Olivieri played Lydia, a tattoo artist, in eight episodes of the science fiction drama series.
  • House of Lies: From 2012 to 2016, Olivieri played Monica Talbot in the television comedy series, which follows a group of management consultants who work for a prominent firm in Los Angeles.
  • SEAL Team: In the military drama series, Olivieri played the role of Christina “Chris” Ortega, a paramedic and love interest to one of the main characters.
  • Yellowstone: In this western drama series, Olivieri plays the role of Claire Dutton, the wife of Jamie Dutton, played by Wes Bentley.

Film Roles

  • American Hustle: In this crime drama, Olivieri played the role of Dolly Polito, the wife of a corrupt mayor.
  • Traffik: In the thriller film, Olivieri played the role of Cara, a woman who gets caught in a human trafficking ring while on a weekend trip with her friends.
  • Darc: Olivieri plays the lead role of Kira in this action thriller, which tells the story of a hitman-turned-savior who rescues young girls from human traffickers.
  • Plush: In this music-based thriller, Olivieri plays the role of Enzo, a guitarist in a rock band.


Dawn Olivieri’s story is proof that following your passion can lead to fulfilling opportunities. Her transition from a chemistry major to a professional actress highlights the importance of pursuing one’s dreams and passion, even if it means taking a different path.

Olivieri’s impressive filmography demonstrates her versatility and aptitude for bringing to life complex characters and storylines. Her performances continue to capture the imaginations of audiences and industry professionals alike.

Dawn Olivieri is a talented actress with several remarkable acting credits to her name. However, there is more to her than meets the eye.

Here are some interesting facts about her that you may not know:

Musical Background

Before venturing into acting, Dawn Olivieri had a passion for music and played the bassoon. The bassoon is classified as the largest woodwind instrument in the orchestra, producing a deep, rich sound.

As a music enthusiast, she participated in various musical productions in her high school and college days. Her love for music has undoubtedly played a role in her dynamic approach to her acting craft.

Personal Interests

Dawn Olivieri has a few hobbies that keep her mind stimulated outside of her career. One of her favorite pastimes is reading, as she has often mentioned in interviews.

She enjoys engaging in intellectual conversation and is known for recommending philosophy and psychology books to her friends and colleagues. Moreover, Dawn is an animal lover.

She was once involved in a campaign to raise awareness about puppy mills and has been an advocate for animal rights since.

Voice Acting

Apart from acting in live-action productions, Dawn Olivieri has lent her voice to various animated TV shows and video games. She voiced Pepper Potts in the animated series, The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes.

She also played the character of Rose Largo in the video game Need for Speed: Undercover and Nix in Infamous 2. Her performances in these projects highlight her versatility and range as an actress.

Family Background

Dawn Olivieri comes from a family that has a rich history in the pawnshop business. Her great-grandfather, Salvatore Olivieri, started one of the first pawnshop businesses in New York City.

The family tradition was passed down through the generations, and Dawn’s father continued the legacy by establishing his own pawnshop in Clearwater, Florida. Even though Dawn Olivieri did not go into the family business, she has always been proud of her heritage and the entrepreneurial spirit that runs in her family.

Friendship with Nikki Reed

Dawn Olivieri and Nikki Reed’s friendship blossomed while they were both cast members of The Vampire Diaries. The two actresses hit it off and formed a close bond while working on the show.

Incidentally, Nikki Reed went on to marry Ian Somerhalder, who also starred in the series. Dawn and Ian also share a friendship that goes beyond the show.

Dislike of Crowds

In contrast to her public persona as a bold and confident actress, Dawn Olivieri reveals that she is not comfortable in large crowds. She admits to being an introverted person who enjoys solitude and quiet moments alone.

Olivieri values her private time and sees it as a way to recharge herself for her work in the entertainment industry.


Dawn Olivieri is a multi-talented artist with diverse hobbies and interests that make her stand out from the crowd. Her deep love for music, animals, and books shows an individual with an open-minded approach to life, while her appreciation of alone time highlights the importance of self-care and balance in the fast-paced world of Hollywood.

Dawn Olivieri’s story is one of inspiration and triumph. She originally pursued a degree in Chemistry but found her true passion in acting.

Her versatility as an actress and her impressive range of performances have earned her critical acclaim, further solidifying her position in Hollywood. Her musical background, personal interests, voice acting, family background, friendship with Nikki Reed, and preference for solitude all show a person who is multifaceted and appreciative of life’s diverse experiences.

Through her journey, Dawn Olivieri teaches us the importance of pursuing one’s dreams, being open to experiences, and embracing oneself fully.


  1. What University did Dawn Olivieri attend?
  2. Dawn Olivieri attended the University of Florida, where she pursued a degree in Chemistry.

  3. What notable roles has she played on TV shows?
  4. Dawn Olivieri has played several notable roles on TV shows, such as Heroes, House of Lies, and Yellowstone.

  5. What are some of her film roles?
  6. Some of Dawn Olivieri’s film roles include American Hustle, Traffik, and Plush.

  7. What is Dawn Olivieri’s musical background?
  8. Dawn Olivieri played the bassoon before pursuing a career in acting.

  9. What are her personal interests?
  10. Dawn Olivieri enjoys reading and is an animal lover.

  11. What voice acting roles has she performed?
  12. Dawn Olivieri has performed voice acting roles in The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes, Need for Speed: Undercover, and Infamous 2.

  13. What is her family background?
  14. Dawn Olivieri comes from a family with a history in the pawnshop business.

  15. What is her friendship with Nikki Reed?
  16. Dawn Olivieri and Nikki Reed formed a close bond while working together on The Vampire Diaries.

  17. Does Dawn Olivieri like crowds?
  18. No, she admits to being uncomfortable in large crowds and values her alone time.

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