Mayte Jannell Garcia (//; born November 12, 1973) is an American belly dancer, actress, singer, and choreographer. She is of Puerto Rican ancestry. Garcia was born on a military base in Alabama; during her childhood, her parents relocated throughout the United States and Germany as a result of her father's military reassignments.
Early life and career
Garcia was born on November 12, 1973 on an Alabama army base. Her parents are Janelle "Nelle" Garcia and Major John Garcia, USA - Ret., both of whom are of Puerto Rican descent. John flew aircraft in the U.S. military; Nelle, a school and dance teacher, passed her dancing skills along to Mayte. Garcia and her older sister, Janice, grew up in both Germany and the USA. Garcia spent the summers of her childhood with her extended family in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is Catholic, and is fluent in English, German, and Spanish. She began belly dancing at age three and became a professional at age eight, at which age she appeared on the American television program That's Incredible! as the world's youngest professional belly dancer. She graduated from General H. H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Career and professional relationship with Prince
Garcia first came to the attention of Prince in 1990, when her mother, Nelle, submitted a video cassette of Garcia's performance. Prince met the young dancer during the same year while on tour in Germany, and eventually she was hired to dance on his Diamonds and Pearls Tour. She became the focus of his next album, Love Symbol, and she assumed the guise of an Egyptian princess for the concept album and the 3 Chains o' Gold video compilation.
Garcia was in The New Power Generation from late 1991 to 1996. Afterwards, she remained an associate of the NPG.
In 1997, she was the artistic director of the New Power Generation Dance Company on their Around the World in a Day tour. But, due to lack of funds, the initiative did not succeed.
García has guest starred on various television series, such as Psych, The Closer, Las Vegas, Nip/Tuck, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She appeared twice as a reporter on the 2007 ABC television series Big Shots, and she had a recurring role on Lifetime's Army Wives (2008-2009) as Jennifer Connor.
She starred on Sí TV's 2004-05 program Across the Hall with Eric Cubiche. In 2009, she was a judge on the first season of Oxygen's Dance Your Ass Off. On June 25, 2012, she began appearing as a principal cast member on VH1's reality show Hollywood Exes.
Two months later, Garcia discovered she was pregnant. The child, Ahmir (listed as "Boy Gregory" on intake records) was born on 16 October 1996, and died a week later due to Pfeiffer syndrome, which is rare skull defect. Mayte checked into the hospital under the alias "Mia Gregory" to maintain privacy. Intake records listed her child, then officially unnamed at the time, as "Boy" to reflect sex, with the given surname of Gregory, which reflected Mayte's alias. She revealed at a Los Angeles memorial for Prince, that she and the singer gave the child the name Ahmir, meaning "prince" in Arabic. In a later interview, Garcia stated that she and Prince also lost a pregnancy early on to a miscarriage. In 1998, Prince announced the couple's divorce, eventually filing an annulment June 2000.
Garcia had a relationship with Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, from 2000 until 2002. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles with her adopted daughter Gia. She is a vegetarian, and animal rights activist for PETA.