Justina Machado grew up in Chicago, but experienced a mixture of cultures as both of her parents were born in Puerto Rico. That blend helped color Machado's early career and even guided her to work in Latino acting groups in her home of Chicago. In the early '90s, she moved out of Chicago, eventually winding up in California where she started her acting career in earnest. Starting in 1996, she made numerous appearances on TV shows ranging from "NYPD Blue" (ABC 1993-2005) to "Angel" (The WB 1999-2004). Her film debut was in the Sean Penn-starring "She's So Lovely" (1997). All of that experience led to Machado joining the cast of "Six Feet Under" (HBO 2001-05) as Vanessa Diaz, a character who started off as recurring but wound up being a main character in later seasons. After "Six Feet Under" ended, she went back to appearing in smaller roles on the big and small screen, including "Torque" (2004), "I Think I Love My Wife" (2007), and "ER" (NBC 1994-2009) - a show that she had guest-starred on in an early season. While her recurring role on "ER" ended, she starred in the short-lived medical drama "Three Rivers" (CBS 2009-2010). After a few more years of one-off roles across TV shows like "Desperate Housewives" (ABC 2004-2012) and movies like "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014), Machado landed a recurring role on "Jane the Virgin" (The CW 2014- ) as Darci Factor. That quickly led to Machado starring as matriarch Penelope Alvarez on the critically adored sitcom "One Day at a Time" (Netflix 2017- ).