The Transformation Of Ana De Armas From Childhood To 34

Ana de Armas wants to do it all. "Of course I have thousands of aspirations that I will struggle to realize when the moment comes," she once told Havana Times. "But there's no hurry. There's still a lot of time." She's right; for many audience members who came to know the star through her work in films like "Blade Runner 2049" and "Knives Out," de Armas' career is only just beginning. However, the path she took to get here was long and winding, one that took her from her home country of Cuba, through superstardom in Spain, and to the backlots of Hollywood.

The star of 2022's "Blonde" has been working steadily since she was a teenager, acting in films while she was still in drama school. She became a television superstar, an action movie heroine, an erotic-thriller veteran, and more ... and then there's her off-screen life as a tabloid fixture and beauty icon. In other words, she wants to do it all — and she can. Friend and frequent co-star Chris Evans told Elle, "I'm a fan first. There are certain people on camera you can't stop watching, and her range, from power to vulnerability, is incredibly wide." 

Read on for a rundown of the ongoing transformation of Ana de Armas from childhood to 34 years old.

Ana de Armas was raised in Cuba

The actor who would take the world by storm in films like "The Gray Man" and "Blonde" was born Ana Celia de Armas Caso in 1988, according to Yahoo!. She grew up in Cuba, and she told Men's Journal that she liked the way she was raised. "I grew up in nature, at the beach, and playing on the streets with friends," de Armas recalled. "I felt very free. Just going wild out there and coming back home to have dinner and watch cartoons. Falling and having my knees all bleeding all the time. It was a normal childhood."

However, there were limitations to her upbringing, too. According to Elle, the "War Dogs" star was without computers, internet services, or cell phones growing up. She recalled to Net-A-Porter that her entertainment options were limited, though the actor is careful to find the positives in talking about her childhood. "In some ways, it just made it more special. ... You knew you had to do your homework and help clean the house in time to watch the midday movie," she said. "When you finally got in front of the TV, you didn't want to be bothered."

De Armas was also struck as a child by the power of movies. Telling W magazine that she would repeatedly reenact her favorite scenes in front of the mirror, she said, "I would get very emotional."

She always wanted to act

As previously mentioned, Ana de Armas knew it was her dream to act as a teenager, realizing at the age of 13 that her childhood games of playing pretend and making up scenarios with her friends were actually a form of acting, as she told Men's Journal. With her parents' support, she spent four years studying at the National Theater School of Cuba.

However, she knew that it would be difficult for her to make a career in show business while still living in Cuba. That meant moving away. "Before I even turned 18, I told my parents that was going to happen," she recalled to Net-A-Porter. "They've been so supportive, I was lucky. But it was me going into the unknown. I was just like, 'This is what I'm going to do with my life.'"

Still, de Armas never forgot where she came from. She has credited her parents with making her strong, even as she grew up and realized she had to become her own person, explaining to Diez Minutos, "My mother and father ... have instilled in me the values ​​of struggle and overcoming." That meant focusing on pursuing her passion, no matter how difficult it became. She added, "In this world, if you don't feel love for this profession and you are clear about what you want, you can not stand it."

Ana de Armas' first starring role was on television

"My heart belongs to Cuba but I knew I had to get out of there to grow," Ana de Armas later reflected to AnOther magazine. That meant moving to Spain when she turned 18. Admitting to Havana Times that she only knew her rep and a couple of friends across the Atlantic at the time, she added, "So the first few days after going through all the excitement of being in a new country, I began to miss my family and friends."

Luckily, she was quickly cast on "El Internado," also called "The Boarding School" in English. The series ran for six seasons, and de Armas was one of the show's breakout stars. She played a character named Carolina, a student at an elite boarding school full of gossip and drama. Later recalling the show's popularity, de Armas said, "It was one of the most-watched series in Spain for four years, and of course a number of doors opened up for me thanks to it."

While de Armas is grateful for her time spent on television, she told Diez Minutos in 2014 that she wouldn't shoot another TV series any time soon. "Being part of a TV project requires a commitment, from 9 months to a year minimum, and now I can't tie myself so long," she reasoned. "Maybe later, but for the kind of actress I want to be, it doesn't suit me for my career development." A career in films soon came calling.

She was previously married to Marc Clotet

In 2011, as her film career was beginning to take off, Ana de Armas married a fellow actor named Marc Clotet. Hola! reported the nuptial news in 2011, sharing that the twosome tied the knot in a small ceremony in the Costa Brava region of Spain. They didn't talk publicly about their marriage much, though The Sun later reported that Clotet's friends claimed the two often fought. While they were married, the Spanish superstars attended the premiere of "Skyfall" together in Madrid. De Armas, of course, would go on to star in "No Time to Die," a James Bond film released the following decade.

In 2013, Clotet admitted while attending the Goya Awards that he and de Armas had split up. "We are still friends," he told Diez Minutos. "It was by mutual agreement." While de Armas didn't attend the actual awards ceremony that year, the ex-spouses were reported to have crossed paths at an after-party. According to his Instagram account, Clotet has since moved on from de Armas with another actor, Natalia Sánchez. They have two kids together.

Ana de Armas rocked pink hair in a 2014 movie

In 2014, Ana de Armas starred in a film called "Por un Puñado de Besos," which was translated in English as "For a Handful of Kisses." The movie is a romantic comedy about the burgeoning love between two characters who are both HIV+. De Armas plays a young woman named Sol, while her "El Internado" co-star, Martiño Rivas, portrays her love interest, Dani. De Armas told Diez Minutos that she herself recommended her co-star to the film's director, and that already being comfortable working together allowed them to skip the rehearsal process. "Martiño says it is as if we had spent the [military] together. After so many experiences, good and bad, and so many adventures, despite being apart for a while, a bond has been created between us," she explained. Noting that she found working with Rivas to be motivational, de Armas added, "It is important to find a cushion, a support in the most complicated scenes."

Sol sports pink hair in the film, which de Armas told Magazinema was her own idea. "I think this shows an immature image of her person, that she thinks by changing something in her physique she will change something in her life," she explained. "This is not the case. ... Sol is a character with a lot of light and a lot of color, and I thought it was a good idea to give her a more daring look."

She moved to America and learned English

Ana de Armas booked a role in Eli Roth's 2015 horror film "Knock Knock," which teamed the starlet up with Roth's then-wife, Lorenza Izzo, in a film where the twosome torture Keanu Reeves. For the part, de Armas moved across the pond to America, and in order to kickstart her career in Hollywood, the actor decided to do one major thing: learn English! "Language is the most important thing about any culture, so to learn that takes years and years," she later told Men's Journal. To get her skills up to the level she wanted, de Armas attended English classes full-time for several months straight. "I really wanted to learn grammar so I could write correctly and understand what I was saying," she explained. Still, the star sometimes made mistakes, heading to auditions and having no clue what was being asked of her at first.

"When you work in another language you are so concerned with pronouncing well that you unintentionally leave the issue of feelings and interpretation in the background," she told Diez Minutos. To avoid this, de Armas worked with a dialect coach for months leading up to filming. She also enjoyed working with a major star like Reeves, recalling to the outlet that he impressed her on set. "Keanu is wonderful, first class, he makes your job much easier," she said. "... His humility and dedication was incredible."

Blade Runner 2049 caught people's attention

2017 brought Ana de Armas' highest-profile role yet, in Denis Villeneuve's long-awaited sequel to "Blade Runner," titled "Blade Runner 2049." De Armas held her own opposite mega-stars like Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, leaving a big impression on a lot of critics, who pegged her as a breakout. The film required yet another transformation for de Armas, who appeared as the artificial intelligence named Joi: she got pixellated! Occasionally, she appeared to be a regular human, her hologram perfectly sized for use around the home, but iconically, she also appeared as a building-sized hologram in one of the film's most memorable sequences ... her skin pink, her hair blue.

De Armas was very grateful for the film's positive reception, interrupting a phone interview with El Paso Times with an excited scream to tell the reporter that she'd just driven past a billboard for the movie. "I still can't get used to seeing myself on a giant poster," she gushed. "I can't even say it's been a dream come true. You don't really dream like this; it just happens. There's been a lot of pinch-myself moments. It's really surreal."

She was Golden Globe-nominated for Knives Out

If "Blade Runner 2049" didn't prove to everyone that Ana de Armas was here to stay, 2019's "Knives Out" sure did the trick. In Rian Johnson's madcap murder mystery, de Armas plays Marta Cabrera, housekeeper to an ultra-wealthy family who are concealing any number of secrets. However, the character's description initially made de Armas pass on the film; she wasn't interested in being a character described as a "pretty Latina caretaker." The star told The Hollywood Reporter, "My imagination immediately went to a portrayal that was not necessarily very positive or exciting in relation to Latin culture." However, her mind soon changed when she actually read the screenplay, as she explained, "I realized that the description didn't fit at all because Marta is so much more than that."

Marta turns out to be the key to the whole piece, and as a result, de Armas' performance won praise from around the industry. She received a Golden Globe nomination for lead actress for her part, and in an Instagram Story shared that December (via Hola!), she popped champagne in celebration. De Armas also told E! News on the red carpet that the first people she called were her parents, phoning them in Cuba from her makeup trailer in New Orleans. "They started crying," she recalled. "It's a lot for them to take in — for me, myself! It was so unexpected, and it's just still something so beyond any dream."

Ana de Armas transformed into a tabloid fixture

In early 2020, rumors began to swirl that Ana de Armas had hit it off with co-star Ben Affleck while filming the erotic thriller "Deep Water." People reported that the twosome vacationed in Cuba together, quoting a source who said, "Ana was his tour guide and took him to all her favorite places. Ben seemed to love the trip. He was in a great mood and very friendly. They are definitely dating." Thus began the newest phase of de Armas' transformation: tabloid fixture. Us Weekly confirmed the relationship that March. An insider told the magazine, "Ben and Ana are happy together and officially dating." However, they didn't go Instagram official until April, when de Armas posted photos for her birthday taken by and featuring Affleck, per People.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rest of the year was a frenzy of tabloid attention. They were photographed on so many COVID coffee runs that the podcast "Who? Weekly" gave the couple their own theme song, nicknaming the couple BenAna. "B-E-N-A-N-A, what will these two do today?" the song goes. "Coffee, walks, daily tasks — only sometimes wearing masks." Their inconsistent mask-wearing in particular was tracked obsessively by fans online, including @ArmasUpdates, which frequently tweeted out paparazzi photos of the pair walking their dogs. The Daily Mail even obtained pics showing Affleck's kids goofing around with a cardboard cutout of de Armas, while the "Knives Out" star doubled over laughing. 

2020 was a tough year, but de Armas seemingly spent the year in love.

The BenAna split of 2021

Unfortunately, Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck's relationship was not, ultimately, the stuff of a Hollywood fairytale. After just less than a year of dating, People reported that they went their separate ways in January 2021. Apparently, the question of whether to have children together was responsible for the breakup, according to Page Six, which reported that de Armas allegedly wanted to have kids while Affleck wasn't willing to agree, considering he already has several children of his own with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. While several outlets reported that reconciliation was still a possibility, it seems that Affleck didn't agree. That much-publicized cardboard cutout of de Armas got thrown right into the trash, according to the Daily Mail.

After the breakup, de Armas pivoted away from being the tabloid superstar that the relationship had made her into. She moved away from Los Angeles, according to a 2022 interview with Elle, and the dissolution of her relationship with Affleck was a big part of the reason why. She called the amount of interest in her relationship "horrible," adding, "Going through it confirmed my thoughts about, 'This is not the place for me to be.' It became a little bit too much. There's no escape. There's no way out." Instead, de Armas began a new phase of her transformation: New York City resident.

Ana de Armas became a Bond girl

Past iconic Bond girls — femmes fatale in the James Bond franchise — have included Halle Berry, Ursula Andress, and Michelle Yeoh, and in 2022's "No Time to Die," Ana de Armas joined their ranks. In the film, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, de Armas plays an agent named Paloma who had only had a handful of weeks of training before joining Bond on his mission. Talking about her character in an on-set interview, de Armas said, "She's relatable, and she's real, and she's flawed, and I think very approachable. ... There's something about her that is almost this simplicity and this normalcy in the way she carries herself ... that it's playful."

While the action movie represented a new kind of role for de Armas, she told Elle that she was nervous about this type of part turning out to be a career transformation rather than just one particular role. "The truth is, I never thought I was going to be an action actor. It wasn't my thing. You have to be careful, because it's not what I want to put the focus on. This is not where I'm the most comfortable, to be honest, because I feel ridiculous," she explained.

Paloma also doesn't have much screentime in the film, but de Armas featured prominently in several posters for the movie, proving that she had reached a new stage in her career: someone who can sell a film simply through their presence.

Ana de Armas: beauty icon

Ana de Armas' rise to global stardom caught the attention of the fashion industry, and the budding superstar transformed once again. This time, she pivoted to being a beauty icon. In 2021, the actor was announced as a Global Brand Ambassador for major beauty conglomerate Estée Lauder, which included appearing in several campaigns for the brand. In a video introducing her collaboration with the brand, de Armas said with a laugh that when she got the news she had been selected, "[I had] a little bit of a freakout. I was very excited and happy and proud. It's such an iconic brand."

She also partnered with Louis Vuitton, being dressed exclusively by the fashion house throughout her promotional appearances in 2022. This included her jaw-dropping debut on the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival that September, where she wore a stunning pink gown. L'Officiel Singapore reported that the dress was hand-pleated and was made from both satin and mousseline. "I wish i had her beauty," one fan commented approvingly alongside a heart-eyes emoji on an Instagram video of the dress in motion, posted by Louis Vuitton itself.

Inside her relationship with a tech guy

Ana de Armas' ex, Ben Affleck, infamously and quickly moved on from their relationship with Jennifer Lopez, whom he dated in the early 2000s. They married in the summer of 2022 after little more than a year back together. No need to worry that de Armas was lonely, however; she too quickly found herself in a new relationship, this time one with significantly less of a spotlight than her BenAna coupling brought her. 

Page Six first reported that de Armas was dating Paul Boukadakis, an executive at the dating app Tinder, in June 2021. Six months later, People obtained photos of the happy couple kissing in public, which is sometimes all the relationship confirmation we need! Unlike Affleck, who technically never made a public appearance with de Armas at an industry event, Boukadakis has accompanied de Armas to film premieres, serving as her arm candy at the Venice Film Festival premiere of "Blonde" in September 2022 (via the Daily Mail). 

Earlier that year, de Armas told Elle that Boukadakis' presence at a recent on-set birthday party helped make it one of her favorite birthdays ever. "I had everybody with me: my man, my dogs, Chris [Evans], and the crew. I wasn't home having a romantic dinner; I was on set with my people doing what I love and at the beach and having a shot of Fireball. So that was my 34th birthday," the "Ghosted" star recalled. "And it is the happiest I've been."

Ana de Armas went Blonde

In 2022, Ana de Armas took on her most iconic role yet, transforming into Marilyn Monroe for Netflix's film "Blonde," based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel about the blonde bombshell's career. De Armas admitted to L'Officiel that she wasn't familiar with Monroe's work, but she didn't think that should matter. "I didn't grow up knowing Marilyn or her movies. I am proud to have [director] Andrew [Dominik]'s trust and the chance to pull it off," the star said. Her approach to the part certainly helped. "My job wasn't to imitate her," de Armas explained. "I was interested in her feelings, her journey, her insecurities, and her voice, in the sense that she didn't really have one."

While promoting "Blonde," de Armas made headlines for her unusual method of preparation. Speaking with AnOther magazine, de Armas recalled the entire crew writing out a message to the "Some Like It Hot" star. "We went to the cemetery and put it on her grave," she explained. "We were asking for permission in a way. Everyone felt a huge responsibility, and we were very aware of the side of the story we were going to tell — the story of Norma Jeane, the person behind this character."

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival that September, where it received an incredible 14-minute standing ovation, per Variety. Despite the general praise for de Armas' performance, however, the movie itself proved to be polarizing, landing a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as of this writing.