Her attractiveness and her passion for her work make it impossible not to fall in love with her. She has come a long way, and her outlook on life is quite inspiring.
1. Hi Dania, a very warm welcome to L’Officiel India. To begin with, tell us how would you describe yourself in one sentence.
Oh, that’s tough! But if I had to, I would say I see myself as a spiritual messenger of love.
2. Were you always inclined towards acting and how did it happen to you?
It’s interesting because I was born in the Dominican Republic and come from a very humble background. It never occurred to me that acting would be a career option. However, from a very young age, I was creating stories in my mind, writing songs and dancing to perform with my siblings, so I guess it has always been my path to entertain, feel and share emotions with the world. At the age of 15, after having immigrated to America while working at a retail store in West New York, NJ, someone approached me and asked if I would be interested in modelling. Always the go-getter, I naturally said yes and that was my introduction to the entertainment world. It wasn’t until I booked a very minimal role in a short story series for HBO titled “Subway Stories” directed by Spike Lee and got my SAG card, that’s when I realized that acting was a natural ability of mine. Someone there said that I should take some acting classes and recommended “The Actor’s workshop studio” in Manhattan. At the end of my year course, I was paired up with the very talented “Shawn Christensen”, who wrote an original scene for us to perform and that got me noticed by an agency. Years later, I worked with Spike Lee again who gave me my first starring role in the film “She Hate Me” and the rest is history.
You’ve worked on such esteemed projects in the past. What has the journey been like playing different roles in different plots?
The journey of an artist is always full of ups and downs but overall, I have an absolute love for feeling and diving into different worlds. It is that magical experience that allows me the possibility to share a message of love with my audience. I don’t believe in good and bad as long as I can learn something from each experience. I love and accept every character that I have brought to life without judgement. I feel blessed to have had this journey thus far and to continue to find a positive way to deal with all of it. I am sure that this acceptance of my journey is what brought me to this place where I get to have a leading role on a FOX show. I try to use my role as Nikki Batista, who treats her job as the head of the missing person’s unit as an opportunity to help others with love, dedication, empathy and compassion, as an avenue to inspire others in life.
You’ve had the opportunity to play some exciting roles, which is the one that you resonate the most with?
I feel very grateful to have had such a diverse career but if I had to choose one, I would have to go with Aimee Eden, mother of hybrids, on Sweet Tooth. She has a beautiful nurturing way about her and that is where her strength comes from. I love how selfless of a human she is and how she values things most of us would take for granted such as nature. I am so blessed to work with such an incredibly talented cast and create the show with such a devoted crew. It is the creator/producer/showrunner Jim Mickle, and producers, Robert and Susan Downey, Linda Moran and Amanda Burrell that provided me with such a multidimensional character to play, all I do is tap into those vulnerable parts of myself to bring her to life.
When I am not working though, I practice pilates and yoga to stay fit.
What else would you have taken up as your profession, if not acting?
I absolutely love what I do so it is difficult at this point to see myself doing anything else but I guess I would be a chef of some kind. I love to cook all kinds of meals. I grew up cooking from the age of 12.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel and immerse myself in new cultures. The food, the music, submerging myself in these adventures and integrating myself with the locals throughout my travel is such an inspiration and an addition to my life and acting skills. But if I had to think about my free time, my favourite things to do are meditating, playing sound bowls, dancing, reading and cooking.
What about all the amazing things you have already accomplished, when did you feel most proud of yourself?
You know I spent so much of my youth wanting to make something of myself. Being dedicated, disciplined and focused on my career to achieve what I believed success was. It led me to achieve some level of prosperity and no doubt, satisfied my need to express myself artistically and then I had children. I first became a stepmother and then was blessed with giving birth to the most magical beings! I have to say that becoming a mother is my greatest accomplishment by far!
What is the secret mantra for your power fitness?
I grew up climbing trees in my county and playing outside. I played Volleyball throughout my University career so being active has always been a part of my life. I have had some great success in playing badass roles, including my current role as Nikki Batista on my FOX show “Alert Missing Person’s Unit.” Being active and athletic has brought me great opportunities throughout my acting career so I make it a point to continuously train in kickboxing among other fighting techniques for my stunts. When I am not working though, I practice pilates and yoga to stay fit.
You have an alluring sense of fashion. What are your favourite brands?
I think fashion is such an incredible form of expression. The easy choice would be brands like Dolce and Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta are my favourites. I love finding new, incredible and talented designers like Jovana Benoit, whose designs I am wearing on this spread, and Abodi and Ronny Kobo.
Last but certainly not least, what is the one piece of life advice you would like to share with our lovely readers?
The times that have felt the hardest in my life have been the most important ones. One of the most challenging times of my life was during 2017-2018 but it is what brought me to Mysore, India. It was during my time there that I found meditation and practices that are now a part of my everyday life. In short, that trip changed my life! I was granted the opportunity to grow and evolve so I believe those difficult moments are absolutely necessary. We all have the power to manifest our own reality. So, we might as well find a way to have positive thoughts and share the good we see with the people around us in order to welcome abundance into our lives. I try my best to apply this in my life without any judgement or expectation.