Ana de Armas — things you didn’t know about the Blonde star

Ana de Armas on the red carpet wearing a gold top
Ana de Armas plays Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix biopic Blonde (Image credit: Getty)

Ana de Armas is back on our screens in a career-defining portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix film, Blonde. The biopic, an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ bestselling novel and directed by Andrew Dominik, has certainly caused a stir, but critics are raving about Ana’s performance in the movie, which she has described as the “the most intense work I’ve ever done as an actress”.

Although Blonde is Ana’s biggest role to date, the Cuban-born beauty is no stranger to Hollywood. She’s starred in several big blockbusters, including Blade Runner 2049 opposite Ryan Gosling, horror flick Knives Out, and last year she played Bond girl Paloma in Daniel Craig's last 007 movie, No Time to Die.

But else is there to know about Ana? Let us fill you in…

She hails from Havana

Ana de Armas in No Time to Die

Ana de Armas was born and raised in Cuba. (Image credit: MGM)

Ana Celia de Armas Caso was born in Havana, Cuba, on April 30, 1988. She was raised in the small city of Santa Cruz del Norte, by her mother Ana, who worked in human resources for the Ministry of Education, and father, Ramon, who had various jobs, including a bank manager and deputy town mayor. She has an older brother called Javier, who is a photographer based in New York. 

Growing up, Ana had no access to the internet and was only allowed a limited amount of television at the weekends. She first fell in love with cinema after watching Hollywood movies in her neighbour’s home, and at 14, Ana successfully auditioned to join Havana’s National Theatre of Cuba.

She used to hitchhike to school

During her time studying at the National Theatre of Cuba, Ana had a rather unusual way of getting to class in the morning — she hitchhiked! Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon she revealed: “You just get there faster in Cuba (by hitchhiking). I didn’t do the thumb thing. I’d just go to the stoplight so the cars have to stop. You just go to the window and I’m like, ‘Hey, can you go to the next spotlight?’ Everyone is very used to it. It’s like a free carpool.” 

Ana filmed three movies during her time at the National Theatre of Cuba – her first was called Virgin Rose, and directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón. After four years of studying, Ana moved to Madrid to pursue her acting ambitions, gaining Spanish citizenship through her maternal grandparents.

She learnt to speak English in two years

Shortly after arriving in Madrid, 18-year old Ana came to the attention of director Luis San Narciso, who cast her as Carolina in teen drama El Internado, a role which she played for six seasons between 2007 and 2010. But ambitious Ana, who only spoke her native Spanish at the time, knew she’d have to learn English if she wanted to crack Hollywood. 

With that, she relocated to LA, and incredibly, managed to master the new language in just two years. Her first English-speaking part was in the 2015 film Knock Knock opposite acclaimed A-lister, Keanu Reeves.

She's played a Bond girl

Ana de Armas in No Time to Die

Ana played CIA agent Paloma in No Time to Die. (Image credit: MGM)

Ana played mysterious CIA agent Paloma in Daniel Craig’s last hurrah as 007, No Time to Die. The 25th Bond instalment was directed by American filmmaker Cary Jogi Fukunaga, who apparently wrote the character of glamorous Paloma with Ana in mind. 

The actress’s brief appearance in the spy thriller captivated fans, but Ana believes Bond girls deserve more prominence. Speaking to CNN at the time of the film’s release, she expressed: “I think this movie is ‘Bond women,’ not so much ‘Bond girls.’ They’re highly skilled, they’re powerful, and they all show it in their own way. They’re equals to Bond.”

She used to date Ben Affleck

Ana Armas and Ben Affleck in Deep Water

Ana met Ben Affleck on the set of Deep Water. (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

There have been a few leading men in Ana’s life but her most high-profile other half has been American actor, Ben Affleck, who she met in 2019 on the set of the thriller Deep Water. The genetically blessed duo enjoyed a year-long lockdown romance from March 2020 to January 2021, and just three months after splitting, Ben rekindled his legendary love story with J-Lo. 

Ana is now blissfully happy with Tinder vice president Paul Boukadakis, who she lives with in New York.  

Her dream day revolves around food

Whilst the Covid pandemic brought many actors' careers to a shuddering halt, Ana found herself busier than ever, working on one project after another. But when she does get a rare day off, she likes to spend it eating and exploring. 

Telling ELLE what her dream day would entail, Ana revealed: “My ideal day would be nothing on my schedule. I would wake up very slowly, have my café in the morning. Then I’d go to a museum and stop by a bar, eat some tapas, croquetas and jamon, go take a nap, then wake up and go out for dinner and beers. And then have some great gin and tonic at the end.” 

Sounds amazing - can we join in?

Her pet dog is a movie star

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

Ana's portrayal of Marilyn Monroe has wowed the critics. (Image credit: Neflix)

Ana is a proud dog mummy to her adorable 13-year old Maltese Terrier, Elvis. The star’s canine companion has traveled the world with her, and now Elvis is getting his own taste of the limelight, as her co-star in the Netflix biopic, Blonde

During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Ana revealed Elvis bore an uncanny resemblance to Marilyn Monroe's own pet pooch, Mafia, and director Andrew Dominik thought he’d be the perfect fit for the film.

Elvis features in one of Blonde’s most hard-hitting scenes, and Ana couldn’t be prouder of her boy. She said: "I watch it, I don't know how to feel because, of course, it's a very serious important scene in the film. And then at the same time, I'm just looking at Elvis and I'm melting.” 

If you want to see more of adorable Elvis, check out Ana’s Instagram account.

Playing Marilyn Monroe changed her life

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

Playing Marilyn Monroe was Ana's dream role. (Image credit: Netflix)

Ana spent a year in training to prepare for her lead role in Blonde, and worked with a voice coach to perfect Marilyn Monroe's distinctive intonations. “I did this movie to push myself, because I thought it was a gift. And it changed my life," the star confessed during a promotional tour. 

Filming for Blonde took place in the actual locations where Marilyn lived, including the Hollywood home where she tragically died in 1962. Ana believes the entire cast and crew felt the late icon's presence during shooting, revealing: "She (Marilyn) was with us. We were in her service, in a way. She was all I thought about. She was all I dreamed about. She was all I could talk about. She was with me. And it was beautiful.” 

Marilyn was Ana's dream role, one which she told ELLE could only be equaled by playing Ken's hairstylist in Barbie. Now that's something we'd like to see!

Ana de Armas’s fact file

Frequently asked questions about the star...

How old is Ana de Armas?

Ana de Armas is 34, she was born on 30th April 1988.

Is Ana de Armas married?

No, Ana De Armas is not currently married.

Does Ana de Armas have any children?

Ana de Armas does not have any children.

Where was Ana de Armas born?

Ana de Armas was born in Havana, Cuba.

How tall is Ana de Armas?

Ana is five foot five.

Instagram: @ana_de_armas

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.