During this age of the Latina bombshell –- think Jennifer Lopez, Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara and Desperate Housewives’ alumnus Eva Longoria -- Camila Banus is proud to be representing her heritage on Days of Our Lives, and it’s a task she doesn’t take lightly. The fiery actress, who admits to being a lot like Gabi Hernandez -- minus the craziness, discusses her naughty alter ego, her favorite co-star, and what she thinks is missing in her character’s life.What are your thoughts on being the only Latina actress on Days of Our Lives?
I’m definitely grateful. I’m proud be a Latina, and I’m really proud to represent for all the Latinas out there; especially the young Latina women. It’s important for them to have a role. I feel really empowered to be the young Latina on the show, and I have no problem carrying all of the responsibility on my back.
Were you born in The States?
Yes. I was born in Miami, but my first language is Spanish. I started learning English, when I was in the first grade. Honestly, I love the country where my family is from, which is Cuba.
Do you ever tease your TV brother, Galen Gering (Rafe), about not really being Latino?
I tease him all the time. I call him “The Faux Hispanic.” Every time I see him, he always says the same thing, “muchacha, empandada ...” That’s all he says. It’s really funny. I love working with him. I think he’s my favorite person to work with, because we just have that brother and sister relationship. He teases me, and I tease him all the time.
Have you taught him any other Spanish words, so he can expand his vocabulary?
Oh yeah. I’m always teaching him something. He mostly wants to learn bad words. (Laughs.)
While it’s fun representing the Latinas and working with Galen, what’s it like playing Gabi so obsessive and crazy? Do you get a lot of flack from fans?
Oh definitely; especially on social media and stuff like Twitter. People say mean things, but it doesn’t really get to me at all. I’m use to it. When I was on One Life to Live (as Lola Montez) I was worse than Gabi is right now. She was a bad girl. She popped holes in condoms. That’s pretty bad. She took acid. That’s pretty bad.
You earned a Young Artist Award nomination for your role on One Life to Live. What was that experience like?
It was my first big show, and I learned a lot in New York. I worked with amazing people, too. A Martinez is one of them. He played my dad. It was amazing working with him.
Back to Gabi, how are you like the character and how are you different from her?
I’m like Gabi in the sense that I’m very, very sassy. When Gabi has that kind of fiery thing, that’s totally Camila. Gabi is very motherly and likes helping the people that she loves, which is very much like me as well. It’s something that is very rewarding. One way I’m not like Gabi is sometimes she can be a little sensitive to the point where people say things and it really upsets her. I’m not like that very much.
Is there anybody on Days that you wish you had more story or scenes with?
I really would love to work with Arianne Zucker, who plays Nicole. She’s amazing. I haven’t really had many scenes with her. Maybe four. But every time I have had scenes with her, they’ve been interesting. I think Gabi and Nicole would be an interesting dynamic. Also, Nicole has that dark side.
What are your thoughts on Gabi’s dismal love life? Will turned out to be gay. Chad only has eyes for Melanie.
Gabi needs a man. It’s really important. If she doesn’t get a man soon, she’s going to go ballistic. It needs to be somebody that she doesn’t choose, but they choose her.
Is there anybody on the horizon for Gabi? What’s coming up in scripts from the show’s new writers or is it too soon to tell yet?
It’s a little bit soon, but I feel like there comes a point where they realize, Okay. We have really stretched this out. We really need to have some sort of release for Gabi. I feel like that is going to come.
Well, Blake Berris is returning as Nick. Maybe he and Gabi could make a love connection.
Maybe. That’s possible.
He’s a little offbeat, a little crazy. It could be the perfect match.
They could both be crazy together. (Laughs)