Jesse Borrego, a Mexican American, was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Gloria Flores and Jesse Borrego Sr. an accordion player and singer of Conjunto Mexican Music. Jesse is the 2nd to the oldest of five children: Gloria Marina, James, Georgina, and Grace. As a youth Jesse often danced with his sister Marina entering & winning several dance contests. Borrego lived with his grandparents during his high school years. He considered going into the US Air Force to become a pilot but pursued an acting career instead because it came naturally to him. After graduating from Harlandale High School, he attended University of the Incarnate Word, studying theater and dance, and The California Institute of the Arts alongside actor Don Cheadle He earned a degree in Performance in 1984. About the same time, he attended an open audition for the TV Series Fame where he won the role of "Jesse Velasquez" for seasons 4, 5 and 6 from 1984-1987.