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New Bond girl Ana De Armas’s epic rags to riches rise that saw her escape poverty in Havana

As the latest Bond girl, she will be filming in the most exclusive and glamorous locations around the world.

But life started very differently for Ana De Armas, who grew up in a tatty breeze-block apartment building on a rubble-strewn street in Cuba.

As a teenager, Ana fled the humble flat in the distillery town of Santa Cruz del Norte – an hour’s drive east of the capital, Havana – to follow her seemingly impossible dream of escaping its grinding poverty through acting.

life started very differently for Ana De Armas, who grew up in a tatty breeze-block apartment building on a rubble-strewn street in Cuba

But now, at 31, all her ambitions have come to fruition after Daniel Craig personally picked her out to play his love interest Paloma in the latest, still untitled 007 blockbuster.

Her parents Ana and Ramon, who was a teacher and part-time oil-refinery worker, no longer live in the simple home, but the current occupants showed The Mail on Sunday around the small kitchen, living room and bedrooms, including Ana’s, which was painted pink.

In this remote town, there is no access to television, the internet or newspapers and the streets outside the apartment block are occupied by stray dogs.

Her parents Ana and Ramon, who was a teacher and part-time oil-refinery worker, no longer live in the simple home, but the current occupants showed The Mail on Sunday around the small kitchen, living room and bedrooms, including Ana’s, which was painted pink

Her parents Ana and Ramon, who was a teacher and part-time oil-refinery worker, no longer live in the simple home, but the current occupants showed The Mail on Sunday around the small kitchen, living room and bedrooms, including Ana’s, which was painted pink

Neighbours who spoke to The Mail on Sunday remember an intelligent, driven young woman. Ibrahim Rangel, 72, who worked with Ramon at the refinery, said: ‘Ana was a very pretty girl. Very intelligent. Basically, she was a young girl in a hurry. But we never expected her to be a Hollywood actress.’

Ana enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Teatro, the national theatre school, in 2002, when she was 14. One of her classmates, Claudia Albarino, described her as ‘likeable, popular and very kind’ and said she had worked hard.

But the college’s director, Professor Corina Mestre Violably, revealed that she quit before completing the course to land her first acting role in a Spanish television series, El Internado.

Ana has acknowledged that her success only came because she made the decision to leave her home country, where an estimated 11 million people – a quarter of the population – live in poverty, and where the even the maximum daily wage, set by the communist state, is just £1. By leaving Cuba, she also avoided national service, which can be military or dedicated to volunteering.

Her departure was only possible as one set of grandparents is Spanish, and in one interview, she described her potential future if she chose to stay in Cuba.

Now, at 31, all her ambitions have come to fruition after Daniel Craig personally picked her out to play his love interest Paloma in the latest, still untitled 007 blockbuster

Now, at 31, all her ambitions have come to fruition after Daniel Craig personally picked her out to play his love interest Paloma in the latest, still untitled 007 blockbuster

‘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,’ she recalled.

‘I would turn on the television and see nothing more than old reruns of soap operas or things produced by ICRT [the Cuban broadcaster] that were of poor-quality due to the low budgets.

‘I was fortunate enough to also have Spanish nationality, and with that freedom I could come to Spain. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had this advantage.’

She has also been blessed with enviable looks. Her career to date has involved appearing naked in the Spanish language films Sex, Party And Lies and Blind Alley. In the 2015 movie Knock Knock, she tempts Keanu Reeves into a steamy threesome, and she also appears naked in 2017 film Blade Runner 2049.

Last year, she shot the crime drama Knives Out, where she met Craig, and impressed him enough to land the part in the new Bond film that has taken her so far from a past she seems keen to forget.

Indeed, one family friend, Josefa Rodriques, said that when she asked Ana’s mother about her daughter, she received a lawyer’s missive forbidding her from discussing them. ‘I was shocked,’ she said. ‘I had considered them friends.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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