Cassandra Ventura known professionally as Cassie, is a American recording artist, model, dancer and actress. After being introduced to music producer Ryan Leslie, she was signed to his music-media company, NextSelection Lifestyle Group. Leslie wrote and produced Cassie's first single, "Me & U", which became a major hit in 2006. He convinced Sean "Diddy" Combs to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie's NextSelection imprint for the release of her debut album, Cassie, which was released in August 2006. Her second album, Electro Love, has yet to be released.
Cassandra Ventura was born on August 26, 1986 in New London, Connecticut. Her father is of Filipino ancestry, and her mother is of Mexican African American, West Indian ancestry. She attended The Williams School, a preparatory school in New London. She trained as a singer and dancer, and took voice lessons. Cassie began modeling at the age of 14, and by the time she was 16, appeared in print ads for Seventeen and the catalog for popular teen line, Delia's,. When she graduated from high school in 2004, she decided to pursue her career in modeling and singing. After high school, Cassie moved to New York City, and continued modeling, as well as attending classes at the Broadway Dance Center. She is represented by Wilhelmina Models and One Model Management in New York City. Ryan Leslie spotted her at clubs and parties in late 2004 frequently. The two wrote a duet called "Kiss Me", and after recording the track, Leslie played the song for music executive Tommy Mottola.