‘Bond 25’ Star Ana de Armas Fled Communist Cuba to Pursue Acting Dreams

Cuban actress Ana de Armas poses on May 16, 2016 during a photocall for the film "Hands of Stone" at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. / AFP / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Actress Ana de Armas, who is set to star in the highly anticipated Bond 25, opens up about what motivated her to flee communist Cuba and embark on a career in the film industry.

All Ana de Armas had when she fled communist Cuba was $170 and a dream. The 31-year-old was fortunate to have grandparents from Spain and was able to get a visa to that country when she was 18.

“I felt like I wanted more. I’ve always been very ambitious, and I always knew I wanted something else,” Ana de Armas told The Sun. “Of course, I didn’t know that 200 euros was nothing, because in Cuba it was a lot. It was what I had been saving from work as an actress. I told my parents that I’d be back when the money ran out. Of course, that didn’t happen — my money ran out in a week, and I didn’t go back. It was the best decision I ever made.”

The actress known for taking rather racy roles added,

I come from a modest family. We lived without luxuries, with the basics, just enough to eat every day and go to the beach some summers. Thanks to my parents’ honesty, I was always conscious of what we could and couldn’t have. My brother and I would go out into the street to play. We didn’t have phones or internet or even DVD players. Anything.

De Armas already has 29 acting credits to her name and has starred in blockbuster films like Blade Runner 2049. The new Bond actress started her acting career in Spain, where she appeared on popular TV shows. But her first big Hollywood break came in the 2015 erotic thriller Knock, Knock, starring Keanu Reeves.

Ana de Armas and Barkhad Abdi in Blade Runner 2049 (Stephen Vaughan/Alcon Entertainment, 2017)

She also noted that she left Cuba just as she would have been eligible for a “free” college education in a Cuban college, but there was no prospect to use that education in Cuba. If she stayed, she would only be able to take menial jobs after graduating.

“I had to weigh the value of having a degree in my hands or leaving at that moment in search of my future. I always pay attention to my intuition — so I left,” the actress said. “I left to try my luck. It could have turned out for the good or for the bad. I was gambling everything, but it was a risk I needed to take. I had there, in front of my eyes, former students of the school, graduates who were not working or who didn’t have any money because they had to perform social service.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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