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Where is ‘Blonde’ star Ana de Armas from?

The star of Andrew Dominik’s new Marilyn Monroe biopic ‘Blonde’ has lived in numerous countries and only learnt English after moving to the US.

Ana de Armas' journey to Hollywood stardom
Instagram (@ana_d_armas)

Despit ebeing just 34-year-old, Ana de Armas has lived a pretty varied life. The actress who plays the lead role in Andrew Dominik’s NC-17-rated biopic Blonde about Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe, is back living in New York but her career has taken her to Spain, London and Los Angeles - far from her homeland, Cuba.

Happy childhood in Cuba

Ana de Armas was born in the Cuban capital of La Havana on 30 April 1988, the youngest of two children to Ramón de Armas and Ana Caso. Her older brother Javier is a photographer based in New York City. While the actress is Cuban born and bred she is also of Spanish heritage - her grandparents on her mother’s side were originally from Spain (Palencia and León) but emigrated to Cuba.

She described a modest but happy childhood in an interview with Hello magazine: “I was born in La Habana, in Cuba, but my father worked in a town called Santa Cruz del Norte and we had to move there.”

“I enjoyed a very free childhood, living right by the coast, with no set time about going out or being expected home, running barefoot, bathing in the sea. The building where we lived had a small park in the courtyard where we would play as children, climbing trees… that was my childhood”.

Aged 14, Ana enrolled at the National Theatre of Cuba in La Havana to study dramatic arts, but after three years of studying she was starting to feel unsatisfied in her homeland and began looking further afield.

“In Cuba you grow up thinking that what you have is all you need and that you should be satisfied with that, but I was always very curious and, I’ll admit it, ambitious. We had no friends or relatives in Miami, Spain was my only option to leave Cuba,” the actress told La Vanguardia.

Big break in Madrid

Due to her maternal grandparents, she was able to gain dual Cuban-Spanish citizenship and in 2006 after turning 18, she decided to emigrate to Spain. She arrived in Madrid with just $300 - not very much to tide anyone over in the Spanish capital - but fortunately, within a couple of weeks, she had found work.

She attended the casting for a television series produced by Globomedia, El Internado (The Boarding School) and won the part of Carol Leal. The first episode of El Internado was premiered the following spring and gained excellent audience figures - a 25.8% share. Within less than a year of her arrival, Ana had become a celebrity in Spain.

Ana starred in the series until 2010 when it was time to move on again - tired of being cast in roles similar to the one she played in El Internado. “I had been waiting for other opportunities to come along until I realised that the only way that was going to happen was if I went out looking for them myself,” she explained in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Blonde ambition

After that realisation she once again left a comfortable life and relocated to the United States, in the hope of finding success in Hollywood. She moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and starred in several productions before getting her big break with the role of Joi in Blade Runner 2049. From there she continued to land parts in major movies, most notably War Dogs and the latest Jame Bond thriller, No Time To Die.

Now based in New York City but with property back home in Cuba, Ana will be back on the big screen in September with her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde expected to perform well on Netflix.

She explained, “The director, Andrew Dominik, spent 10 years working on an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates novel Blonde. He had several actresses in mind for the part but for one reason or another, the project never went ahead. When he saw Toc, toc, he managed to contact me and sent me the script. Soon after that I did the screen tests, and a few weeks later he said that I’d got the part”.


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