Ana de Armas may have been acting on the silver and big screens for more than a decade, but the Cuban star has only recently emerged as an up-and-coming actor who is steadily finding stardom in Hollywood‘s biggest blockbusters. While 2019 thrust her into the international spotlight with a breakout lead role in a star-studded cast that garnered her a Golden Globes nod, 2020 is set to be a watershed year for the award nominee with a list of film credits more impressive than her red carpet style. Before de Armas cements her status as a household name in the coming months, we’ve rounded up 6 reasons why the critically acclaimed scene-stealer should be on your radar.
Major off-screen collaborations
When de Armas is not dazzling on-screen, she’s making her mark off-screen in lauded collaborations with the industry’s biggest brands. Her latest campaign with Chopard sees the upcoming Bond girl don the rose-gold jewelry of the new Happy Hearts – Golden Hearts collection, a reinterpretation of the maison‘s signature motif inspired by its vision of a courageous James Bond woman.
Hollywood isn’t her first rodeo
De Armas always knew she wanted to be an actor so by the age of 14, she joined the National Theater School of Cuba in her hometown of Havana and kickstarted her career only two years later with her first film Una rosa de Francia in 2006. After playing the main character in the romantic drama and a few other acting titles, 18-year-old de Armas moved to Spain and try her luck there with only a little more than 1,000 AED in hand and the Spanish citizenship of her grandparents. However, de Armas was discovered almost immediately and cast in the hit teenage television series El Internado for six seasons, beginning her successful Spanish career and quickly elevating her to celebrity status in the European country.
English is her second language
Although de Armas was renowned in Spain, she decided to pursue a career in the United States and moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to start from scratch once again—without knowing a single word of English. Her first Hollywood production, Hands of Stone, not only placed her alongside Robert de Niro but also premiered at the Cannes Film Festival with a fifteen-minute standing ovation. However, it was a Spanish-speaking part and de Armas was determined to not be typecast into only Latina roles so she enrolled in seven-hour long intensive classes and managed to learn English in just four months. Yet, her biggest training came on the job. During her breakthrough English role opposite Keanu Reeves in the Sundance film Knock Knock, de Armas learned her lines phonetically and delivered a thrilling performance, even if she didn’t completely understand the script.
She’s a strong supporter of feminist roles
While de Armas is the first to admit she plays a long list of wives and girlfriends, she doesn’t just accept any offer unless the female protagonist is muti-dimensional and not just “waiting at home.” “I don’t mind playing someone’s girlfriend or wife if I have something to say, if I bring something to the picture, if I can be strong and powerful and say smart things. If not, then it’s just boring,” she previously said in an interview. In fact, she actively avoids the pigeonhole Latina actors often face, almost turning down the starring role of Marta the caretaker in the box-office hit Knives Out because it seemed like a stereotype at first glance. Even her long-anticipated role as CIA agent in the upcoming 007 installment No Time to Die wasn’t a done deal until she discovered director Cary Joji Fukunaga created the role specifically for her and Fleabag‘s feminist writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge scripted her scenes. “Obviously I was jumping all over the place and very excited. But I needed to be sure it wouldn’t jeopardize all the work I’d been putting in, that it wouldn’t ruin everything,” de Armas told Vanity Fair. “And the Bond women have always been, for me at least, unrelatable.”
Acting alongside industry legends
In just over five years, de Armas has already worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. From sharing the screen with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in the Academy-Award nominated sci-fi film Blade Runner 2049 to most recently acting opposite of Daniel Craig and Chris Evans in the murder mystery Knives Out, de Armas has proved time again she is a force with which to be reckoned.
It’s not over yet
Over the past few months, de Armas has been frequently regarded as “the one to watch” and with at least five major film titles to be released in 2020 alone, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. Whether it’s in a Gone Girl-esque story with rumored beau Ben Affleck in Deep Water, the Netflix war drama Sergio that was partially filmed in Jordan, or the Cuban political thriller Wasp Network with fellow Latina Penélope Cruz, de Armas is set to make even bigger waves in the months to come—not to mention her boundary-breaking transformation from a Cuban brunette into an American blonde with her upcoming portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the long-awaited biopic of the iconic bombshell.