ICYMI Camila Banus (Gabi, DAYS) Interview

October 4 marked 10 years since Camila Banus’s DAYS debut as Gabi. Here, she shares her favorite things about the job.

Favorite storyline you’ve ever done? “It’s a tie between the Nick and Gabi storyline and also the Gabi/Stefan storyline, her plot to marry him and then turn things around. Those two live right up there as my favorites.”

Favorite scene? “I love action movies, and to me, it was almost like a near-death experience, but it was so worth it. It was a Nick and Gabi scene where we had dragged him into the river with Sami and Kate, and Gabi is having a nightmare where she’s walking back to the lake with Nick and then he throws her into the water and pushes her underneath the water and starts to drown her. Oh, my God, that was the coolest scene to shoot ever. It was so fun.”

Favorite Gabi trait? “One of my favorite things that Gabi does is her infamous bitch-slaps. She goes in there and gives those slaperoos every once in a while. She’s very free-handed on those.”

Favorite thing about being part of the Hernandez family? “I think my favorite thing about being part of the Hernandez family is just the way that all of us are very, very comfortable with each other. I think out of all of us, the only three that speak Spanish are me, Jordi [Vilasuso, ex-Dario; Rey, Y&R] and Alma [Delfina, ex-Adriana], who played our mom, so when we’re around each other, Galen [Gering, Rafe] and A [Martinez, ex- Eduardo] don’t really understand too much. They’re just so much fun to be around, especially Galen. We have such a wonderful rapport together.”

Favorite thing about playing a mom on the show? “Oh, my gosh. Are you kidding me? My favorite thing about playing a mom is just being able to hang out, particularly with Sydnee and Harper [Udell, ex- Arianna]. I was able to hang out with them from when they were six months until almost 7 years old. I’ve learned so much from these two tiny, beautiful souls and their moms and their siblings and their dad. The whole experience is unique, and not being a mom, it has been amazing to vicariously kind of live through them.”

Favorite outfit? “I really, really loved the last outfit that I wore to Lani and Eli’s wedding. That white, sequin jumpsuit. It was just so wrong in all the right ways. I remember telling Richard [Bloore, costume designer], ‘Just get me something that is so completely wrong but is going to be Gabi.’ It’s a beautiful jumpsuit by Alice + Olivia and it’s so comfortable and sexy but fun.”

Favorite scene partner? “I have one scene partner and he’s my favorite, but also he’s not my favorite, and I’m going to explain that. So Galen is kind of my favorite scene partner, but the reason I say kind of is because he annoys the heck out of me! The man is just like a real brother. He is just annoying. But at the same time, it’s that brotherly annoying thing where you’re like, ‘But I love the crap out of ya.’ And it’s really fun to work with him. He keeps you on your toes and you never know what he’s going to do in the middle of a scene. I’ve been in a scene where he just whispers random things and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, can you stop right now? It’s so wrong.’ But he’s so nonchalant and keeps it light and keeps it fun. It’s just very comfortable to work with him.”

Favorite thing about Chandler Massey (ex- Will)? “He’s the first person I ever really worked with on a day-to-day basis and I think my favorite thing about him is how much in common we actually have. I’m a very low-key nerd; I’m talking I have at least 45 board games in my living room, and I have all types of video games, so we both are very much into games. I think my favorite thing about Chandler is you never know what that man will walk into the studio with. Some days, it will be a giant glass jug of water, other days it will be a big bag of produce from Whole Foods. One time he brought a mattress into the studio. Just silliness, but just amazing.”

Favorite thing about Freddie Smith (ex-Sonny)? “Freddie is so professional. I remember meeting Freddie a couple of months into being at DAYS and thinking, ‘Thank God, there’s someone else here and I don’t only have to talk to Chandler about video games.’ Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing, but we also needed somebody else to talk about other things. It was nice because Freddie came in and he knew a couple of people I knew. We got along really well and our characters weren’t supposed to get along, so that was an interesting dynamic because I loved him and I got along with him really well. He’s somebody who thinks about everybody else. He’s a really thoughtful person and we’re all lucky to have Freddie.”

Favorite thing about Billy Flynn (Chad)? “Billy! Billy is a wild man. I remember meeting him [in 2015] when I got back after my year-long break. He would be talking in the makeup room a lot about films, and I always thought that was so interesting. And then I got to work with him and I’m like, ‘You’re so fun, you’re so cool.’ He’s a deep guy and he’s kind of like a Renaissance man. So working with Billy has been a blessing. I think we definitely have had our differences. That’s someone I can say that I’ve said, ‘Well, I don’t necessarily agree with that,’ and he’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t necessarily agree with that,’ but we can both be respectful and work with each other and be professional and even be friends and be really great friends.”

Favorite thing about Marci Miller (Abigail)? “Oh, Marci. Marci is my heart. She’s so wonderful. I remember her name was kind of being whispered through the halls and I remember thinking, ‘She’s got such a great name. Marci Miller, that’s wonderful.’ Anyway, I see her and she’s so beautiful without makeup on and I’m like, ‘Whoa, we’ve got a supermodel coming in here.’ And then they put the makeup on and I’m like, ‘Whoa, she’s Abigail.’ It was amazing how she effortlessly came into this character and made it her own. I think she’s touched so many people’s hearts and lives on our show. There aren’t any words that I can actually use to make you believe for real what she has done for all of us, but she’s just somebody who brings a lot of light. We are very lucky whenever we get to be around her.”

Favorite thing about Brandon Barash (Jake; ex-Stefan)? “I love him! Everybody you’ve mentioned, I love! I am terrible when it comes to knowing about other shows. I didn’t know anything about Brandon. So he comes in and all I see is this guy who has this legal pad and he’s really professional and you can tell he’s really smart and he’s got it. Everything is just on point. He brings his own tea. I kind of was a little intimidated. The minute the man opened his mouth, all of the silliness that lives inside of my body was coming out of his mouth and I was like, ‘Wait, what? It doesn’t match.’ He’s really professional on the outside but he’s a silly little boy on the inside and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. Yes, you’re me! This is so perfect! We’re going to work so well.’ He’s one of these people that makes the person he’s working with comfortable, but it doesn’t feel like he’s putting it on. That’s just how he is.”

Favorite DAYS experience? “I think it’s not one particular experience. For me, it’s every time we get to have these really cool meet and greets with the fans, whether it’s at Day of DAYS or it’s at Mall of America or some other really amazing place somewhere. I honestly leave these events and I get back to my hotel room and a lot of times, I get really emotional and I have to be with myself alone for a little while. I go back and I think back to all the moments and every single interaction I had with every single fan and how meaningful it is for me, for them, and how full it makes me feel to know what you’re doing means something to somebody. To see their smiles and to shake their hands, hug them and get to know them is so rewarding.”

Favorite thing about the fact that 10 years later, you’re still on DAYS? “I think 10 years later, I didn’t expect to have the friendships, not only with the cast but also with the crew. My hair and makeup team, they’re not just my friends — I’m getting emotional right now — they’re my family. I talk to my hair and makeup person more than I talk to my sister or my mother because we spend so much time together. Sometimes you spend more time with people that you work with than your family, so they become your family. And I think just 10 years later to know that I have friendships of people that are so wonderful, it’s just really, really rewarding and makes me feel really safe and really great.”

Favorite thing about marking 10 years since your debut? “I’m really proud to be playing a Latina on daytime television for 10 years. Portraying Gabi Josephina Hernandez to the best of my abilities, being able to go in there and meet so many amazing people and learn from so many people, but also to carry just Latinas in general for little girls that would be able to watch the show and say, ‘There’s somebody on there who looks like me and speaks Spanish,’ means a lot. It’s really nice to carry that for Latinos in general, for being somebody whose mother is from a really terrible communist regime in Cuba, who came to this country to become a better person and provide for her family, and for me to be the first generation is really amazing.”