Elta Danneel Graul was born on the 18th March 1979 in Lafayette, Louisiana (brought up in Eunice) to parents Deborah and Edward. She has one sibling, a brother named Gino Graul and also a niece. Danneel’s unique name came from two pieces of inspiration; Elta after her great-grandmother and Danneel after the street in New Orleans. According to Danneel, she has never went by Elta:‘We used to live in New Orleans. My first name is actually Elta, but I don’t go by it. I’ve always gone by my middle name.’Her full stage name became Danneel Harris, with the surname coming from an, as of now, unknown source.In regards to education, Danneel attended Eunice High School where she was also a cheerleader for the Bobcats. She then progressed to Louisiana State University where she studied Mass Communications.From here she started the process of working her way into the entertainment business; something which started with her then-boyfriend, Riley Smith. With Riley’s mother being a modelling agent, she got in contact with a number of agencies when Danneel and Riley travelled to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Soon after she booked gigs with various companies, such as Big Sexy Hair and Juicy Jeans.So he helped me with auditions and stuff. I supported myself by modelling for a couple years, and then I auditioned for a commercial and I booked it. So I was like, “Yeah, okay, maybe I’ll do this.” I guest-starred on MadTV a couple times.Modelling was a big part of her career as throughout the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, Danneel featured in the Maxim Hot 100 and regularly did photoshoots and interviews for them. She even hosted the Maxim Hot 100 E!Special! Working on commercials and small roles on MadTV led to Danneel’s first role as Kate in What I Like About You. In this teen drama, she starred in 4 episodes opposite Amanda Bynes. The 23rd January marked the first of her appearances, with the last being in April 2004.Her casting in What I Like About You the led to one of the biggest roles to date; Shannon McBain on the soap drama, One Life to Live. On the 23rd March, Shannon first appeared on screen.[The soap schedule is pretty tough for any actor, but it must have been extra hard since it was your first contract role?] At first I was really freaked out because I had only worked on sitcoms and we would rehearse Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then tape on Friday. My first day on the job they give me my lines. I’m like, “Okay,” and I go up there and I’m thinking we’ll have rehearsal and then we’ll have dress rehearsal then we’ll shoot it. And it’s like, we go up there, I say my lines and they say, “Thank you.” I learned that if you say your lines correctly they’re using it. It was so completely different that it blew me away for a second. I’ve gotten used to it.During her tenure in OLTL, Danneel also took part in an extremely brief role in the comedy short, The Plight of Clownana. The short also starred Jensen Ackles, who she had previously met at a party. A change in her life came in November, when she was released from her OLTL contract. However it didn’t dent her spirits, as the 18th November marked her first appearance as Katie in FRIENDS spin-off; Joey. Nearly 2 weeks before her final Joey episode aired, Danneel’s role as Shannon McBain came to an end in late December.From February to October in 2005, Danneel enjoyed a number of different guest spots on various shows such as JAG, where she appeared twice as Cameron Cresswell, and portrayed an alternate version of Paige in the witch drama, Charmed. In March she took part in the theatre play 12th Premise.The 1st September marked an important day as it was announced she had been cast as Rachel Gatina,a ‘villainess’ promised to ‘stir things up for the kids’. Following a role in another short movie titled ‘Rule Number One’, Rachel Gatina’s first appearance came on the 26th October, in the season 3 episode titled ‘An Attempt to Tip the Scales’. The iconic moment of Rachel dressed up as Pamela Anderson shall never be forgotten!