Rutina Wesley is an American film, stage and television actress best known for her role as Tara Thornton on the HBO series True Blood. Wesley was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her father, Ivory Wheeler is a professional tap dancer and her mother, Cassandra Wesley, was a showgirl. She attended high school at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. She studied dance at Simba Studios and the West Las Vegas Arts Center.