With a multifaceted background and impressive range vivacious African-American actress Golden Brooks spent years developing her craft on stage, television and in films of all genres. Coming off of an impressive academic career, focusing on theater and literature, the performer began appearing on television in such projects as the cable comedy "Linc's" (Showtime, 1998-2000) and filmmaker Mike Figgis' experimental drama "Timecode" (2000). Brooks found her launching pad for success playing Maya Wilkes, a strong-willed professional, mother and friend on the long running sitcom "Girlfriends" (UPN/The CW, 2000-08). During this time she also managed supporting roles in such diverse feature films as the sci-fi thriller "Imposter" (2002), the comedy spin-off "Beauty Shop" (2005) and the romance "Something New" (2006). After "Girlfriends" had come to an end, the actress moved on to starring roles in indie productions like the thriller "Inheritance" (2011) and returned to her former network home to join the cast for season two of "Hart of Dixie" (The CW, 2011-15). Whether as an ensemble player or in a starring role, Golden remained a popular and welcome presence on screens large and small.
Brooks was born in San Francisco, CA on Dec. 1, 1970, with an upbringing that carried her from the Bay area to Los Angeles. In her teenage years, she chose to head north, attending school at the University of Southern California, Berkeley. There, she put her energies toward the study of literature and sociology, earning her degree in the latter in 1994 with a focus on the media representation of minorities, along with a minor in theater. As an undergrad, Brooks appeared onstage in diverse stage productions such as "Romeo & Juliet," Ntozake Shanges' "For Colored Girls" and Chekov's "The Brute." She then went east, heading to Bronxville, NY to obtain a master's degree in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. While in New York, Brooks also indulged her interest in ballet and modern dance, taking classes and studying the methods of Katherine Dunham. In the mid-1990s, Brooks moved into television, first with an appearance on Nickelodeon's family comedy "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (1993-96). In 1997, production began on "Hell's Kitchen" (1998), a New York crime drama for which Brooks played a character named Gold.
The next year, she worked in Petersburg, VA as a series regular on the Showtime comedy, "Linc's" (1998-2000), inhabiting the life of the sarcastic waitress CeCe Jennings of the titular restaurant. She took a detour onto the CBS drama "Promised Land" (1996-99) in 1999 and also began production on the Mike Figgis digital video feature, "Timecode" (2000), playing Onyx Richardson. After two seasons, "Linc's" left from the airwaves in 2000, but Brooks still had a busy year. "Timecode" was released, followed a month later with a guest spot appearance on UPN's hit sitcom, "The Parkers" (1999-2004). Shortly after that, Brooks segued into another new series for UPN called "Girlfriends" (UPN/The CW, 2000-08). The series focused on four successful women navigating love and life together in Los Angeles - a kind of African-American version of "Sex in the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) - with Brooks playing the fretful, married mother and legal secretary Maya. At that time, Brooks found time to squeeze in a guest spot in an episode of "The Jamie Foxx Show" (The WB, 1996-2001). With "Girlfriends" beginning to take off, Brooks began building a solid relationship with the UPN family. Her "Girlfriends" character Maya popped up on a 2001 episode of the network's Brandy vehicle, "Moesha" (1996-2001) and she was utilized on the network's short-lived horror-thriller series, "Haunted" (2002). In a change of pace, Brooks, who had dabbled in both drama and comedy, was appearing in the feature "Imposter" (2002). As the onscreen sister of Mekhi Phifer, the film reunited her with her "Hell's Kitchen" co-star.
With the success of her sitcom, Brooks and her cast mates were invited to host the NAACP Image Awards in March of 2004, having been nominees by the prestigious organization the year before. Towards the end of "Girlfriends"' 2003-04 season, she found herself ready to jump into a film again and was cast in an MGM spin-off of the feature comedy "Barbershop" (2002), entitled "Beauty Shop" (2005), in which Brooks took on the role of the tart-tongued stylist, Chanel. Over the course of the 2004-05 season, Brooks continued to be a prominent figure on UPN's roster of programming. As "Girlfriends" entered into its fifth season, she helped kick off the fourth season of the network's wildly-popular "Star Trek" spin-off, "Enterprise" (2001-05), playing Alicia Travers on back-to-back episodes in 2004. Eager to continue with more feature film work, however, she was soon back in familiar girlfriend territory as Suzette in "Something New" (2006), one of three women helping African-American actress Sanaa Lathan come to terms with her interracial romance with Caucasian hunk, Simon Baker. Back to the small screen, she stopped by for an appearance on another UPN hit, "Eve" (2003-06).
In 2006, "Girlfriends" was UPN's highest-rated show and made the transition into the era of The CW - the merging of the UPN and The WB networks. As the show entered into a prosperous seventh season, Brooks managed to find a successful balance between her regular television work, feature film roles, and the stage, as well as continuing a longstanding affiliation with Los Angeles' Robey Theatre Company and pursuing her ballet studies. Keeping busy, Brooks also found time to star in the direct-to-DVD ensemble family drama "A Good Man is Hard to Find" (2007) and guest-starred in a 2008 episode of the police procedural spin-off "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-2012). That same year, Golden bid her "Girlfriends" a bittersweet farewell when the long-running series completed its run. Taking the opportunity to exploit her more open schedule, the actress appeared in a number of small feature film and direct-to-DVD projects, including a starring role in the horror film "Inheritance" (2011), which featured longtime boyfriend D.B. Woodside. The following year, Golden joined the second season cast on the romantic comedy-drama "Hart of Dixie" (The CW, 2011-15) as Ruby Jeffries, a doctor recently returned to the small medical practice in Bluebell, AL where she soon befriends the staff's latest addition, Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson).