CAMILA BANUS IN LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images Jimmy Grande
Additional Images Andrew Quesada
Looks & Lines Camila Banus herself
Location Korea Town, Los Angeles
Let’s talk about your Killer Caregiver film that came out this year. You play the crazy live-in au pair, right? I have always said that I never wanted to stop auditioning and working. And I relayed that to my team, hey listen I know I have a lot going on but I want to stay hungry and keep challenging myself. Here’s the thing, I happen to book often, but I have to turn down a lot of stuff because of my schedule and other show obligations. This really worked out well with Killer Caregiver. It was a cool change of direction for me. The first time I got to lead a film. The last scenes were very intense and dramatic, so the director had only seen me portray this nice, sweet girl and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. Afterwards though, after we shot those final parts? He said – ‘I’m scared for your boyfriend’ (Laughs!). It does have the regular Lifetime Movie sort of feel and tonality, but the cuts are very ragged edged. It’s a really good film that I had fun being a part of.
You are on Star now. The wife of a media mogul is generally portrayed as attention seeking and someone who has a plot against everyone. What is Nina Ferrera’s agenda? Their agenda, she and Mateo, is not to be completely counter but they are in town, there in Atlanta, to stir up trouble. No doubts about it. My character is a very strong female who doesn’t take shit from anyone and is a very equal counterpart to her powerful husband. Then another side to her story is that she has an open relationship with her husband which is still very taboo for many. Today we have side dudes, side girls, so many different ways of viewing a healthy relationship. Some are ok with it and others aren’t. We see that transcend into Nina’s feelings toward Simone in episode one of this season. She feels the need to protect her understanding of it all.
You’ve played Gabriella Hernandez on Days of our Lives for close to a decade at an Emmy nominated level. As an actress, what is the difference in what is required of you emotionally to play Nina versus playing Gabi? It’s just a matter of understanding that they are two different people, at two different places in their lives. For instance, I’m flying to Atlanta tomorrow (Wednesday) to film some Nina scenes, and I’m already becoming a bit arrogant, and picky, and sort of bossy in her particular way. Because that is who she is. I’m already getting into character long before we film. Then it’s back to LA on Monday to film for Gabi who is domesticated, kinder, nicer and sweeter; more well meaning. So I’ll be at home washing dishes and having laundry day. I don’t take the character home but I use the character traits in real life.
No genre of television does drama quite like the daytime Soaps. Yet only the four big shows remain, with each major network having their own. This and yet, the Telenovelas are thriving in Latin America and on Spanish-speaking network channels. Is it a fading format in the US, or one that will begin to roll out new shows? I definitely feel it has a lot to do with demographics. I think the cities and states and countries these shows are thriving in are very steeped in tradition. Men go to work. Women work in the home. And the TV is always on. This a very common thing in Latin households. If there is an older person in the home, which is often the case, then it also needs to be in Spanish. They wake up and turn on the TV, and it remains on throughout the day. They don’t like change. Yesterday, I encountered a lady and it was so beautiful how free she was being, just discussing how much she loved the show and our current storyline. So I think people from a specific generation are very invested in these storylines and characters, and also in what they represent, which are traditional roles and values.
Most people probably don’t know that you style yourself for a lot of these red carpets we see you rockin’. I have these Dolce & Gabbana heel boots to show you. One of our stylists were gifted a pair of these for a future shoot. I wanted to get your take on them. Do they receive the Camila Banus greenlight? These are fire! Oh my God. These are delicious. I have seen clothing from this collection but hadn’t actually seen these. Amazing, so beautiful. I would have to be only in Dolce and Gabbana, and specifically this collection, when wearing these. They are pieces of art.
You are a Miami native, so let’s play an unfair game of MIA either or. I have five:
• Miami Heat or Miami Dolphins? Miami Heat. The Dolphins have really been a disappointment for a long time, and I’ve always been more of a basketball fan.
• Miami Vice or CSI Miami? Wow, both great shows. Gotta go with CSI Miami, but only because I’ve seen every episode (Laughs!).
• Little Havana or Wynwood Arts District? Little Havana! That’s my hood. That’s my hood my hood, too. Like, for real for real (Laughs!).
• Pitbull or DJ Khaled? Pitbull all the way. Old Pitbull, new Pitbull, all of his albums and hit songs. And his live performances are everything.
• Gloria Estefan or South Beach? Oooohhhh, you didn’t. You know what, that’s okay. I got this. I gotta go with…. sorry Gloria. South Beach all day whew!
Back in 2015, then President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba. I know you are conscious and very socio-politically active. So being a proud Cuban yourself, what’s your take on what many are calling New Havana? Seems the nation is more inclusive and tourist friendly, but at what expense to the people? I have a pretty unpopular opinion about it. I have a bit of an ambiguous look. Most can tell that I am Latina but aren’t certain which country, so people will ask which Latin descent I’m from. As I say Cuban their eyes light up, and their voices change – “Oh! I want to go there!” – And honestly that bothers me. They say, “I want to go there to visit before things change.” You have to think about Cuba for what it truly and honestly is, a floating prison. People have been deprived of physical materials and also information for decades. People living on an island where they have not been allowed to utilize or access the internet for their own education or even just entertainment. When I hear people fantasize about the old cars and homes and streets and storefronts, they either don’t care or don’t realize each are indicative of people’s actual livelihood. You hope it doesn’t change, meaning doesn’t progress beyond that current state before you have an opportunity to take pictures? What people don’t understand is that tourism will mostly make the government wealthier, the people will see very little of that money aside from a few black market transactions and even those will be limited because everything is being monitored. I want to be excited for real change that truly helps the people in Cuba, not just for it to become a living museum for all to see the pain and poverty the establishment has caused for so long.