Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (born July 28, 1972) is an American television, film and theatre actress. Berkley’s most notable roles were in the television series Saved by the Bell, as the brainy Jessie Spano, and the 1995 Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls, as exotic dancer Nomi Malone.
Berkley was born and raised in Farmington Hills, a community located among Detroit’s northern suburbs in Oakland County, Michigan. She is the daughter of Jere, a gift basket business owner, and Fred Berkley, a lawyer. Her family is Jewish, she was raised in the Conservative tradition of Judaism, and at age 13 became bat mitzvahed. Berkley was born with heterochromia, the condition of differently colored irises; her right eye is half green and half brown, and her left eye is all green. She graduated in 1990 from North Farmington High School in Farmington Hills after previously having attended the Cranbrook Kingswood School, a private school in Bloomfield Hills.
From a young age she danced, and she practiced in a room that her parents arranged for her in the basement of their house. In 1982 at age ten she auditioned for the lead role in the film Annie, but was turned down. As her love for dancing increased, she became more interested in pursuing it professionally, traveling to New York to train with other dancers and choreographers. She began to take part in several ballets, including Swan Lake and in 1983 she appeared in some musicals.