Ana De Armas Bio: Rising Star of Hollywood’s New Generation

Cuban and Spanish actress Ana De Armas’ bio is a perfect description of a grass-to-grace story. As an immigrant, Armas sought to achieve and accomplish her goal of becoming a Hollywood star. In less than a decade in Hollywood, Ana De Armas has not only had a risen profile but also bagged an Academy Award nomination.

Like many Cuban kids her age, a preteen Armas developed a passion for acting as a child. However, unlike most, she enrolled at the city’s National Theatre and stayed committed to a career she believed she was born to do. As one of Hollywood’s new generation rising stars, here’s a look at Ana De Armas’ bio through her life and career.

Ana De Armas Grew Up During Cuba’s Special Period

Young Ana De Armas

The Special Period was an economic crisis in Cuba during the 1990s. Armas was born Ana Celia de Armas Caso in Havana, Cuba, on April 30, 1988. Although her mother worked in the Human Resources department of the Ministry of Education, and her father worked in various jobs, things got harder for the family as the economic crisis worsened. Armas grew up in a home where they had to ration food, electricity blackouts, fuel shortages, and with no video or DVD player. Despite only being able to watch cartoons on Saturday for 20 minutes and movies from the neighbor’s apartment, Ana De Armas has always described her childhood as happy—making the best of what her workaholic parents could provide.

She Joined the National Theatre of Cuba at 14

Ana De Armas modeling

Growing up, Ana De Armas spent countless minutes in front of a mirror, reciting and performing memorized monologues from movies and cartoons. Armas made up her mind at 12 that she would become an actress. However, it wasn’t until two years later that she first auditioned to join the National Theatre of Cuba. Getting admitted was the easy part, as she didn’t have enough money for transportation to attend classes. Howez Armas was more determined than ever, seeing she was a step away from achieving her dream of becoming a professional actress. As such, Armas would occasionally hitchhike to the theater to attend certain classes. 

Ana De Armas Had To Leave Cuba To Pursue Her Acting Dreams

Ana De Armas in Virgin Rose

Although born to a Cuban father, Ana De Armas’ maternal grandparents were Spanish migrants to Cuba. From her mother’s side, Armas held a Spanish passport. Almost at the end of her four-year drama course, Armas had to make a difficult decision to abandon the course. While still in school, Armas was cast in a Spanish–Cuban romance and adventure, Una rosa de Francia (Virgin Rose), as Marie, one of the underaged trafficked girls under Simón (Jorge Perugorría). Una rosa de Francia became her film and screen debut, a role she got after actor Jorge Perugorría recommended her to the film’s director.

As a joint production between Spain and Cuba, the cast was expected to travel for a promotional tour in Spain. Since Cuban graduates were required to complete a three-year mandatory service to the nation, Armas believed this would affect her future acting career prospects. With only a few months to present her thesis, Armas dropped out of the theater and moved to Madrid, Spain. It was while she was in Spain that she was introduced to Spanish agent Juan Lanja, who became her agent. 

She Got Her Big Break In Spain In Less Than Three Months

Ana De Armas in El Internado

Ana De Armas was introduced to casting director Luis San Narciso about two weeks after she arrived in Spain. Coincidentally, Narciso had seen her in Una rosa de Francia and was a fan of her work. When Globomedia was casting for a new telenovela series, Narciso cast Ana De Armas as Carolina Leal Solís, a series regular on El Internado (The Boarding School). All of these happened within Armas’ first two months in Spain. With almost a quarter of Spain’s telenovela audiences tuning in for the first season, El Internado quickly turned Ana De Armas into a television celebrity in Spain.

Although becoming relatively famous, Ana De Armas requested to be written off El Internado to avoid being typecast in the industry. Although her television career was progressing, she struggled to get movie roles. Worse off, because she played a student in El Internado, she was often always offered young roles. Figuring it was near-impossible to avoid being typecast, Armas moved to the United States in 2014 to pursue an acting career. It was another difficult decision to make for the advancement of her acting career. Ana De Armas has to walk away from the glory of fame she acquired in Spain and ventured into American cinema, where she was barely known. However, she returned to Spain for a few months to work in television and films.

Transitioning To Hollywood Wasn’t As Rosy As She Expected

Hollywood is a very competitive film industry, with talents springing up from different parts of the world regularly. Ana De Armas arrived in the United States with little to no understanding of English. Although she auditioned for several roles, language constraints meant she had to do her lines phonetically. Ana De Armas made her Hollywood debut with Eli Roth’s 2015 exploitation thriller Knock Knock. Although cast in a supporting role with Keanu Reeves playing the lead, Knock Knock’s box office failure did little for Armas’ Hollywood career. 

Not one to give up easily, she continued with her English classes. Armas attributed watching Friends with helping perfect her English. Although she had starring roles in Exposed (2016), Hands of Stone (2016), War Dogs (2016), and Overdrive (2017), they were more stereotypical Latino roles. However, playing K’s (Ryan Gosling) holographic A.I. girlfriend Joi in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (2017) brought Armas a wider audience reach. Blade Runner 2049 might have been a box office failure, but the popularity of its predecessor and cast made it Ana De Armas’ biggest Hollywood movie at that point in her career. Blade Runner 2049 was also Ana De Armas’ first American award recognition after being nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2018 Saturn Awards.

She Got Her Breakout Role In Knives Out

Ana De Armas in Knives Out

While this might come as a surprise, especially because Knives Out (2019) was released recently, it singlehandedly gave Ana De Armas international recognition. Interestingly, Armas wasn’t enthusiastic about taking the role. At first glance, she believed it was another “Latino maid” role until she discovered how important Marta Cabrera’s character was to the movie’s plot. 

Although cast alongside several Hollywood top actors such as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, and Toni Collette, Ana De Armas gave an unforgettable performance. Her portrayal of Martha’s innocence made Knives Out successful as a Whodunnit film. Unsurprisingly, Knives Out was a commercial success, grossing $311.9 million on a $40 million production budget. 

Ana De Armas received a Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Actress—Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her Knives Out performance. She was cast as the Bond girl Paloma, a CIA agent, in the Daniel Craig-led James Bond film No Time to Die (2021), the second time she worked with Craig. She also played a CIA agent, Dani Miranda, in the Russo BrothersThe Gray Man (2022).

Ana De Armas Became The First Cuban Actress Nominated For An Oscar

Ana De Armas in Blonde

In less than a decade in Hollywood, Ana De Armas has gone from being a background character to one of the industry’s fastest-rising leading stars. Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain were initially considered for the role, but director Andrew Dominik had Ana De Armas in mind after her first casting. She only had to undergo several auditions to impress the producers. It was the first time Armas was portraying a historical figure, especially one as loved as Marilyn Monroe. Armas had to undergo dialect coaching for a year before filming began.

Ana De Armas’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde (2022) gave the actress her first Academy nod. Armas was nominated for Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards. With her nomination, Ana De Armas became the first Cuban actress to receive a nomination at the Academy Awards. Although she lost the nomination to Michelle Yeoh (for Everything Everywhere All at Once), the recognition quickly raised Armas’ profile in Hollywood. 

In 2023, she co-starred alongside Chris Evans on the Apple TV+ romantic action-adventure comedy Ghosted. Ana De Armas will lead the cast of John Wick’s first spin-off movie, Ballerina (2025), and the upcoming survival thriller Eden. If you enjoyed reading about Ana De Armas’ bio, read about the line between the facts and fiction in her movie, BLONDE.

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