Unsurprisingly, Marisa Petroro entered acting via modeling, and owed her lithe and exotically beautiful appearance to mixed Italian and Argentine ancestry. A native of Elizabeth, NJ, Petroro began enrolling in regional beauty pageants at the age of four, and by the age of eight gravitated to acting, with formal dramatic studies at Manhattan's HB Studio. As a young woman, she opted to make it in Hollywood by setting out on a 5,000-mile cross-country journey with a friend and resettling in Los Angeles; that gambit paid off when Petroro landed roles in features including Tomcats (2001) and Pumpkin (2002) and on series including The Pretender, Reno 911!: Miami, and the game show Deal or No Deal (as a multiseason briefcase model). In 2007, Petroro signed for a major role in the ethnic comedy Everybody Wants to Be Italian (2008).