Anybody witnessing Ana de Armas’ talent for the first time in the upcoming chronicle-film, Blonde, in which she is set to star as Norma Jeane/Marilyn Monroe, is late to the party – she’s already one of Hollywood’s most successful actors. Miss de Armas has been the lead actress in several American box-office hits, such as Knives Out (2019), No Time to Die (2021), and The Gray Man (2022). However, Miss de Armas’ success is a greater triumph than considering the challenges she endured to attain her current positions within Hollywood, including the many sacrifices she made since her arrival from Cuba.
Ana de Armas was born Ana Celia de Armas Caso on the 30th of April 1988 in Havana, Cuba, and was raised in the small city of Santa Cruz del Norte. Miss de Armas grew up in Cuba’s Special Period with food rationing, fuel shortages, and electricity blackouts. Despite certain challenges, she grew up healthily and happily, gaining her interest in acting from watching Hollywood films at a neighbour’s house as her parents did not own a video cassette/DVD player.
Ana de Armas began her acting education at the age of 14, in 2002, at Havana’s National Theatre of Cuba. During her time at this school, she was even approached by the Spanish screenwriter and director, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, for a leading role in his romantic drama Una rosa de Francia (2006), and continued working in different films, including Sex, Party and Lies (2009).
At 18, she moved to Madrid before finishing her final thesis, aided by the citizenship from her maternal grandparents (the couple originally from Spain before immigrating to Cuba). She starred in many Cuban and Spanish projects, including the popular teen drama, El Internado (2007-10), before making that brave decision to move to America for more opportunities, despite not being fluent in English.
Within two years of her arrival on American soil, she landed her first English-speaking roles in the psychological thriller, Knock Knock (2015), and the comedy-crime film War Dogs (2016), due to her skill as an actress and her ability to speak fascinating English – thanks to the four-month English-Language classes. Whilst Miss de Armas had put in a large effort to learn English; any language isn’t learned in such a short span. As such, Ana de Armas still learned her lines phonetically for her roles in Knock Knock (2015) and War Dogs (2016) which she even confessed to The Hollywood Reporter that while filming those projects, she “wasn’t really sure what [she]was saying.” During the rest of her career, she has dedicated herself to mastering English, making herself a proficient bi-lingual.
Since then, Ana de Armas has made a huge impact in present-day Hollywood, having articles written about her claiming her to be the “Cuban Woman out to Conquer Hollywood” and she is well on her way to doing so. Miss de Armas’ career is an inspiration to this generation of young Latinx people, as she shows them, that they can achieve their dreams and break through the stereotypical roles that are otherwise typically assigned to Latinx actors, like that of the housekeepers, spicy sexpots, or gangbangers.
Ana de Armas has addressed her decision to take roles that break the stereotype in earnest, such as when she was asked to take on the role of Marta in Knives Out. As she admitted to magazines such as Vogue, the initial description of the character was described as little more than “Latina, caretaker, pretty” – something that didn’t sit well with de Armas, who pointed out that Latina actors are still frequently stereotyped as being “sexy” and “fiery.” However, upon discussing the role, she found that Marta had been misrepresented; her character is intelligent and witty, and kind. This stereotypical casting of the character highlights one of the largest problems for Latinx people in Hollywood as it appears to encourage more stereotypical auditions of what Americans perceive Latinx people to be rather than genuine talent that is Latin.
Hopefully, Ana de Armas’ continued career successes, and stereotype breaking, will encourage even more Latinx people to pursue acting, as she has also spoken about her wish to “show that [Latin Americans] can do anything if given [the chance and the]time to prepare.”