(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
Sharon Leal is a military brat. She was born on October 17, 1972 in Tuscon, Arizona. Sharon then moved with her parents to the Philippines till she was 6 years old. She went to pre-school there. Then her parents packed up to move to the US and settled in Fresno, California. Her mother Angelita (Filipina) is a homemaker. Her father Jesse (African-American), a retired master sergeant in the US Air Force, is now an elementary school teacher. Her parents are divorced. She has a step-father Elmer Manankil. Elmer and Angelita have a daughter together. So, Sharon has a younger sister, Kristina Manankil. How she got started with the desire for performing. At the age of two, Sharon sang into a microphone, and her parents taped her. This later led to acting, which she began doing in community theater productions when she was 13. Sharon graduated from 'Roosevelt High School of the Arts' in Fresno and attended 'Diablo Valley Junior College', where she studied acting while privately studying voice. In 1989, she won a vocal scholarship at the 'Santa Cruz Jazz Festival', which enabled her to study with Seth Riggs (Michael Jackson's voice coach). Sharon has also performed in various rap and R&B music videos. She has sung in cabaret productions at B.Smith's, The Violet, and Steve McGraw's, all in New York City, and played teenager Dahlia Creed on the daytime soap opera 'Guiding Light' in the mid-90s. At New York Theatre Workshop: Bright Lights, Big City. Regional credits include Little Shop of Horrors-Arizona Theatre Co., Into the Woods-Theatre works CA and other shows like Ain't Misbehavin, West Side Story, Me and My Girl and Nunsense to name a few. Last performed on Broadway as Mimi in Rent. In her spare time, she enjoys roller blading, ice skating, dancing at clubs, and reading.