Danay Garcia

Courtesy of This is Happening Now

Danay Garcia always has some badass roles, but her real-life story and journey to Hollywood are just as admirable. 

The 32-year-old Fear the Walking Dead star was born in Havana, Cuba and after falling in love with dancing, she realized it was something else in the arts that interested her: acting. 

"I danced ballet and every kind of folklore dance my whole life. So I grew up dancing in the theater and then when I turned 15 I started looking at dance and realizing that it was such a short career and I began to wonder what else I could do. The difference is that in Cuba you have to know at a very young age what you're going to do for the rest of your life," she explained to E! News. "So, for instance, at 15 you have to know what you're going to do and be mature enough to make that decision. That's when a friend of mine introduced me to the theater, and that's what I began to study for two years, seven days a week, and we'd do a play every other weekend."

The actress and her son made their way to the United States through Mexico. 

"I had my son with me, my son was like 18-month-old at the time. I went through this journey with him," she said. "It was honestly terrifying."

It was a tough journey, but it was completely worth every agonizing moment.  Once she reached the United States, she came face to face with another difficult challenge. 

"I was 20 when I came to the US, I wanted to go back to the theater, but English was my problem. I would speak to people, and they wouldn't know what I was saying, and I thought I was speaking proper English. But my accent was very, very strong," she said.  "So then I started working Robert Easton, who is one of the best accent coaches that ever existed. He's the one that taught Al Pacino how to speak for his role as Tony Montana, who was a Cuban in Miami. I studied with him for over two years." 

Quickly she gained recognition and landed roles in various shows and movies, but it was a particular character that gave her family in Cuba a chance to see her by simply turning on the TV. 

"My first big role was in the movie Danika with Marisa Tomei, and then after that, I went on to do a couple of shows CSI Miami and CSI New York. But then I did Prison Break, and that's when I went to Europe and people started recognizing me.  But honestly, I was just enjoying the process of making the show," Garcia explained. "Prison Break was the first show that Cuba bought and showed through national television. I found out when, my grandmother was very sick and we thought she was going to pass, so I called her and said how sorry I was because I can't go back to see her and that's when my grandmother said, ‘Don't' worry, I see you on television.' And you know it wasn't that easy to call Cuba, so that's where the saying comes in that art travel and it really goes to the places that it needs to go."

Danay Garcia

Courtesy of This is Happening Now

Off the screen, Garcia is a real-life mother to a 15-year-old boy, who is very proud of her hard work. 

"Having a teenage and me killing zombies is the best job that I could possibly have. I'm so cool right now," she laughed. "I'm full of fake blood every day, I send him pictures and he's like, 'You're so cool! This is my mom!'"

Aside from Fear the Walking Dead, she recently produced and starred in the film Loca featuring boxer Victor Ortiz and other big names. She will also star in Sniper 7: Homeland Security, which she shot in Colombia. The film will be released later in 2017. 

It's safe to say, we expect big things from Garcia!

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