This interview originally appeared in the January 11, 2011 issue of Soap Opera Digest.
“I love coming in to work — even at 5:30 in the morning! Smiles Camila Banus, who doesn’t hesitate to gush about her new daytime home. “Everyone is so nice and so funny and just very welcoming. It’s such a nice atmosphere,” she adds.
Banus is well aware of how lucky she is to be in Salem. She screen-tested for the role of Gabriela when the character was initially cast, but didn’t land the gig. “They wanted a kind of younger girl, but I went in anyway and didn’t get picked. A couple of months later, I got a call that they wanted to age the character a bit, so I went in again and here I am!” she shares. Although she had some reservations about playing a recast, Banus is grateful to have received so much support from her new co-stars since joining the show in October. “I got a lot of pointers and tips from Chandler [Massey, Will],” she says. “It’s awesome to work with Chandler. He’s also such a funny guy. Even maybe funnier than Galen [Gering, Rafe]! I don’t think he’s shown it yet to everybody else, but he’s so funny and so witty. He makes it really comfortable. Galen and Lindsay Hartley [ex-Arianna; Cara, AMC] were so awesome and if I ever needed anything, they were always there.” She got her first lesson in working with DAYS’s impressive ensemble cast during Arianna’s memorial scenes. “I didn’t really get to work with everybody, but everybody got to see me weep!” she chuckles. “That was interesting.”
A Miami native, Banus admits that after briefly living in New York while playing OLTL’s Lola, she feels much more at home in sunny Los Angeles — and at DAYS. “It’s hard to adapt when you’ve lived all your life in a different climate and have never had any time of real winter!” she laughs. “It was awful! I love the environment and the set here. It’s different kind of people, too.” She currently lives with her mother and younger sister Gabriela, who is also and actress. “My mom is the one who got us started at age 6 and has always been there. I was a very hyperactive child, and I would go out on the street and lose myself all the time and at the end of the day, my mom would find me sitting down having a conversation with a stranger! One day, she opened up the Yellow Pages and looked for a manager and found one. From then on, I started doing commercials. It was the best way to release all my energy and show off.”
Banus is excited to stretch her acting chops at DAYS and share more screen time with Salem’s lot. “I would really love to work with any of the so-called ‘evil’ characters, like Stefano or even Vivian, anybody who’s really evil!” she winks. “I think I can relate to the crazy.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: July 22
Hails From: Miami, FL
Other Daytime Role: Lola, OLTL (2008-09)
Latin Lady: Banus is Spanish and Cuban
Cake Boss: I’m addicted to cupcakes and cake shows. I was just watching AMAZING WEDDING CAKES and those people are beyond amazing!”
Diva Alert: “I love Cher!”
Novel Approach: “I’ am a big fan of Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist. I love his work. I’m on his latest book, Brida. It’s beautiful.”
Bust A Move: “I can’t watch DANCING WITH THE STARS because I get so mad because I’ll be like, ‘I could’ve done that better!’ It gets me all fired up.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Banus is a former competitive ballroom dancer. “I was born pigeon-toed and my mom put me in ballet immediately. That was my first taste of dance. I did compete in Florida and in pro-am competitions.”
She has appeared on several Spanish soap operas. “I was a vampire on one of them!”
Banus has also appeared on Disney’s ZEKE AND LUTHER.