Brooklyn Sudano doesn’t take anything for granted.
Brooklyn Sudano recalls spending idyllic childhood days on her family’s ranch in California.
In Nashville, she was high-school valedictorian at the private Christ Presbyterian Academy. Later, in New York, she excelled in acting classes at Lee Strasberg and signed with Ford modeling.
All along, it was with the loving encouragement of her protective, more-than-famous mom, Donna Summer.
It’s been a charmed life for the actress, currently one of the stars of Taken, NBC’s new series riff on the Liam Neeson–action franchise. In this prequel she plays Asha, an environmental attorney bonded by tragedy to fledgling CIA agent Bryan Mills (Clive Standen).
Sudano knows she’s lucky. “I’ve had an incredibly blessed life,” she says. “There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not fully aware of that. I’ve always had this sense that there’s a responsibility to live up to the sacrifices that my parents, grandparents and all the people who came before me made for me.”
There have been rough times along the way. Summer died in 2012, at 63, and the grandmother who helped raise Sudano died soon after. Still, like her mom and dad Bruce Sudano (the singer-songwriter who helped pen Summer’s disco classic “Bad Girls”), and sisters Amanda and Mimi — singers, too — Sudano cops to a “restless, creative mind.”
Early on, her modeling gigs led to commercial gigs. Her big break came in 2003, when she was cast as Damon Wayans’s daughter-in-law, Vanessa, on My Wife and Kids. Guest parts on series from Fox’s 90210 to HBO’s Ballers have since kept her busy (she most recently stood out as James Franco’s ex-wife in Hulu’s 11.22.63).
Now she’s thrilled to be doing a thriller full-time: “I love action and suspense.” Married and mom to a three-year-old girl, she credits her gung-ho ways to her own mother. “She said, ‘Don’t be afraid — you just have to jump.’ I know she would be so proud of me.”
Next leap: her own pop album. And her downtime hijinks with Taken costar Jennifer Beals are helping prep her for that endeavor. “We sing at the top of our lungs while doing Pilates together.”
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 1, 2017