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Where is ‘Blonde’ star Ana de Armas from?

Ana de Armas stars as Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s biopic ‘Blonde’ which goes on general release in September. Where is she from?

Update:
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 19: Ana de Armas attends "The Gray Man" Special Screening at BFI Southbank on July 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Samir HusseinGetty

During her 34 years, Ana de Armas has lived a relatively nomadic 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 the West Coast of US - far from her homeland, Cuba.

Ana de Armas: happy childhood in Cuba

Ana de Armas was born in Cuban capital 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 she is Cuban born and bred, Ana also has Spanish blood - her grandparents on her mother’s side were originally from Spain (Valverde, Palencia and Guardo, 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 like she has outgrown her homeland and started 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 even back then 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. So in 2014, she was on the move again. She moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and starred in several Hollywood productions before getting her big break with the role of Joi in Blade Runner 2049.

Blonde ambition

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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