How far for the little girl who didn't even have a TV and then found herself in Los Angeles, engaged to one of the most talked-about stars.
"Look as far as you can, but take baby steps." That's what her father used to tell her, and she, Ana de Armas, must have stuck her gaze into the farthest horizon imaginable from that working-class, deprived little house where she was born, in Cuba. Her gaze, for now, has gone as far as the film Blonde, presented at the Venice Film Festival and in theaters from September 22, in which she plays Marilyn Monroe, the most American of divas. No one, however, doubts that she will go even further.
As a child she had no Internet, computer or cell phone. Born in Santa Cruz del Norte, she and her entire family moved to the Cuban capital when she was 9: "I grew up in Havana with rationed food, fuel shortages, and light that came and went, but I can't say I didn't have a happy childhood." Her father, a teacher, studied philosophy in Russia; her mother is an educated woman. She has a brother, now a photographer. As a child she could watch little TV and only in her neighbor's house, but she could still memorize whole dialogues. So she enrolled in a drama school, was noticed, and was made to make three films (her film career cost her flunking out of school). Taking advantage of the dual citizenship she got from her Spanish grandmother, she decided to go to Madrid when she was 18: "I had never traveled. My parents encouraged me to follow my dream, telling me I could go home at any time. That's how I learned to trust myself."
A soap opera actress in El internado, at 23 she married actor Marc Clotet. When it now seems that everything in her life is well under way, she continues to look far ahead: she divorces and tries to make the big leap into American cinema. It's 2014, she flies to Los Angeles: "I started from scratch, I didn't even speak English." Success comes, starting with Knock Knock (in 2015) with Keanu Reeves. Before long she is a Golden Globe nominee for Dinner with Murder – Knives Out, plays bond girl with Daniel Craig in No Time to Die, and is also chosen by Ridley Scott for the sequel to Blade Runner. While filming Deep Water she falls in love with Ben Affleck. She is 31, he is 47, he is just out of a marriage and out of the tunnel of alcohol, he has not yet found himself with Jennifer Lopez.
The relationship, which coincides with 2020 and the outbreak of the pandemic, puts her in the center of media attention and makes her realize that what is happening to her is not for her, despite having a great time at work. She recounts going through a "horrible" time, with her father falling ill in Cuba, her not being able to reach him because the island is closed, and photographers always lurking: "I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't see any way out or escape. In Los Angeles you always have the feeling that something is missing. It is a city that causes a sense of anguish." The love story with Ben Affleck ends, with no hard feelings or fuss, and one of the first things Ana de Armas does is pack.
She now lives in New York, happy to be able to fly three hours to Cuba but also to be a little closer to Europe, which she still misses from time to time. She has a new boyfriend, Paul Boukadakis, vice president of Tinder. She uses social networks little, makes video calls with close friends, and loves spending time with her dogs Elvis and Salsa. To be Monroe, she prepared seriously, as is her habit: "I studied hundreds of photographs, videos, sound recordings, every scene is inspired by existing images." To be physically equal to her she underwent 3 hours of makeup a day. But really capturing the actress's soul must have also taken a less than easy childhood and a less than friendly city, Los Angeles.