Angela Rockwood, 36, was born in Clovis, New Mexico, and grew up all over the world as the child of a career military man. She started modeling at age 17 and later became a fitness instructor and a skilled martial artist.
At 22, she relocated to Los Angeles, where she met actor Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street) and he introduced her to her second love, drama. She launched an acting career, with small roles in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and the syndicated television series V.I.P. She and Dustin secretly eloped on Valentine’s Day, 2001 and separated in 2011.
Angela became paralyzed in an automobile accident on September 3, 2001. She and two girlfriends were driving home from a trip to San Francisco when her friend lost control of the car. Angela was in the backseat and was thrown through a window, suffering a broken neck and severed spinal cord. She is a quadriplegic, and at the time of her accident doctors gave her a 3% chance of ever feeling or moving anything below her neck. A firm believer in alternative healing methods, Angela didn’t accept this diagnosis. Two months after the crash, while she couldn’t feel her fingers, she was able to wiggle her left index finger; a month later she touched the top of her head. In 2003, she underwent pioneering stem cell treatments in Portugal, which allowed her to operate a manual wheelchair.
Though Angela can’t move her fingers fully, she can feed herself, paint and apply her own makeup. Angela is active with a number of organizations for the disabled. She is an Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and worked closely on the organization’s minority outreach campaigns in Asian-American communities. She is a quadriplegic counselor through the website of the Fight 2 Walk Foundation, a nonprofit crisis intervention group for recently paralyzed individuals. She was a life coach for Operation Confidence, a nonprofit organization for people with physical disabilities; she threw events and fundraisers and made public speaking appearances for the organization, though she has not been actively involved in recent years. She is a spokesmodel for Quickie Wheelchairs and Ti-Lite Wheelchairs. She works as a model and an actress and hosts weekly acting workshops in Los Angeles.