No wonder she was discovered. When Perez was 19 years old, she was noticed at dance club Funky Reggae by Spike Lee in 1988, who hired her for her first major acting role in Do the Right Thing. Perez started her career in the late 1980s as a dancer on Soul Train. As a college student in Los Angeles, majoring in bio-chemistry, to relieve stress she said she would go to these nightclubs for ladies night — a talent scout from Soul Train asked her to be on the show. She was not a professional dancer but loved it so much she dropped out of school.
Perez later choreographed music videos by Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross, LL Cool J and The Boys. She was the choreographer for the dancing group the Fly Girls who were featured on the Fox television comedy program In Living Color and also worked as a segment producer.