Dania wears a gown by GEORGES CHAKRA COUTURE.
Dania Ramirez is living proof that hard work can lead to the life of your dreams. At age ten after growing up with relatives in the Dominican Republic while her parents worked in the United States, Dania and her sister immigrated to New York. Being separated from her mother and father for so long proved to be an extremely challenging experience but now that she is a parent herself she understands their reasoning, explaining, “I have a newfound respect for my mom and dad and all they must’ve gone through so that we were able to come to America in the quest of a better future.”
Dania definitely learned from her parents’ perseverance and has gone from being a video vixen for Jay-Z and Santana to a producer, starting with Talbot Country, a Southern horror film with a new-age twist. She also stars in the film in a role unlike any of her previous acting experiences which include parts in much loved television series, cult classics, and giant blockbusters such as Heroes, Devious Maids, Entourage, She Hate Me, The Sopranos, and X-Men: The Last Stand. To top it off, Ramirez has young twins and a teenager with husband, Bev Land, proving that you can be the ultimate career woman and maintain a great home life. In fact, she credits her children with keeping her motivated to keep striving for more roles and opportunities. It isn’t just her children that the multi-tasker wants to make a better life for. Land’s family established the John B. Amos Cancer Center and he and Ramirez are known to volunteer at children’s centers in their spare time. She and her husband fully believe in passing good fortune forward and share the desire “to be an active part of the change we want to see.” With such a positive outlook, it seems that Ramirez has an even brighter future ahead.
In an exclusive feature for The Untitled Magazine, style director Phillip Bloch interviewed Dania. See below to get more of her tips for happiness and success.
Left page: Dania wears a bikini top and skirt by THE ROW from Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills and vintage cross necklace from The Paper Bag Princess by CHANEL. Right page: She wears a gown by MARIA LUCIA HOHAN and shoes by ALEJANDRO INGELMO.
Phillip Bloch: You have starred in videos for a lot of amazing musicians, including Jay-Z, De La Soul, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J, and Santana. What would you tell a teenage girl whose career goal is to be a video vixen?
Dania Ramirez: In a medium that is becoming very saturated with so many people doing the same thing, the best bet is to find out what makes you unique and highlight that in your photos and videos. That way you can be more than just a sexy babe.
PB: You have also had television roles on acclaimed shows such as The Sopranos, Entourage, and Devious Maids, and you have acted in cult classics like She Hate Me and huge blockbusters including, X-Men: The Last Stand. You are about to make your debut as a producer. Why did you decide to start your new role with a Southern horror movie?
DR: I thought it was really important to diversify my career by producing a film that had very classic aspects and give it a new age spin. We think of the film as a “Hitchcockian Suspense Thriller.” It is based on the legend of Emily Burt who is considered to be “The Talbott County Werewolf.” I have always been a huge fan of horror films that have more of a real-life threat aspect to them. My husband, who wrote and directed, found a way to write a leading role for me in a Southern horror film set in the ’80s. The role of Isabella is very different than any of the roles I have ever played and it really gave me a chance to push myself as an actress as well as a producer.
PB: You have a passionate relationship with your husband, you have toddler twins together, you just collaborated on a film, and you still make time for each other. How do you two keep the romance alive and maintain a healthy relationship?
DR: We are very connected but as you stated above with work and raising a family of twins and a 14 year-old from his previous marriage, it is important for us to have dates, take small trips alone, and have a lot of great sex! There is an essence of who he is and who I am that existed prior to starting a family together, and we always make time to nourish that. Most importantly, we allow each other to live our honest truth whether the other person agrees or not. We have mutual respect for who we are and were prior to being with each other. After all, none of it would have existed without that romance and passion.
Dania wears a gown by GEORGES CHAKRA COUTURE.
PB: When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do?
DR: Cooking, dancing, and traveling with the people I love most! If wine is available that makes it all perfect. I love to breathe in love and enjoy my existence in the most simple ways. When I am doing that, I usually turn off the outside world – no phone, no work. I love being present, whether that’s alone or with whomever I choose to have around.
PB: I’ve known you before and after you’ve had babies and you still look the same in a bikini! Has anything changed for you since having children? Have you had to take some of the focus away from your professional projects?
DR: I feel like it is the complete opposite. Having kids has made me more focused and motivated! I want to be able to give them more than I had, and I feel more powerful and inspired by them. Overall, my creative talent is continuously being fed by them!
PB: I understand that your parents had to leave you behind with family in the Dominican Republic so that they could build a life and then eventually, you and your sister came to the United States alone. For those who are unfamiliar with your background, can you talk about what that was like?
DR: It was something I didn’t quite understand as a child because all I wanted to do was be with them. Now that I am a mother, I have a different understanding of all they sacrificed and how difficult it was to leave all they knew to come to unfamiliar territory without the love of their children being close. They moved to the US when I was six-months-old, and I didn’t unite with them until I was 10. In hindsight, it was all worth it, and my emotional struggle is something that I have been able to channel in my work. I have a newfound respect for my mom and dad and all they must’ve gone through so that we were able to come to America in the quest of a better future.
Left page: Dania wears a top by CHLOE from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Right page: She wears a lace top by CAROLINA HERRERA from Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, a skirt by INGIE PARIS, earrings by NEIL LANE, and shoes by JEROME C. ROUSSEAU.
PB: I’ve known you to be someone that will go out and party hard and then wake up early the next morning to volunteer at a children’s orphanage. You and your husband are both incredibly grateful for your fun and fabulous lives and believe in giving a lot when a lot is given. Can you talk about why that is important to you?
DR: We have been blessed and it is always important to enjoy your gifts and blessings and pass the good fortune forward. We share that common passion to be an active part of the change we want to see. I am always proud to lend any help I can. My husband’s family started the company Aflac to help those dealing with any illness by giving them money to pay their bills and keep their family afloat in the time they are not physically able to work, and they established the John B. Amos Cancer Center, which offers a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. It is the only treatment center with this designation in the 14-county service area of Columbus, Georgia.
PB: Your career takes a lot of sacrifice – hard work, long hours, and traveling away from your family. What keeps you going when you are miles away from your loved ones and all you want to do is kiss them goodnight?
DR: Being away from them for any amount of time is emotionally unbearable at times. It does feel incredible to know that I have such a great support system at home. We talk all the time and FaceTime religiously! My husband and I always make a pact to completely commit to any work we are doing while away from each other so that we can celebrate the success of it as soon as we are back together. So thinking of that always keeps me motivated and going.
PB: Can you give us some tips for a fun and sexy summer?
DR: Small bikinis are a must. Get some blonde highlights. Have drinks over shaved ice like vodka, pineapple with a splash of sparkling water, to stay hydrated. Listen and dance to “Kalemba (Wegue-Wegue)” on a beach! Keep your hair down and messy. Sunblock all the time and fashionable sunglasses because, why not? Don’t forget to drink a lot of water and enroll in a Hot Mat Pilates class so your body can be bikini ready!
Fashion Editor: Phillip Bloch
Photography by Jeaneen Lund
Makeup by Tasha Brown for Exclusive Artists Management using Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
Hair by Vernon Francois using Kevin Murphy Hair Care
Assistant Stylists: Jessie Muldrow and Adrell
Special Thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Paperbag Princess