Dania Ramirez is an absolutely breathtaking beauty but in her latest role, the Dominican star skips the high heels and bronzer in favor of sensible sneakers and a bike helmet.
In “Premium Rush” which hits theaters nationwide August 24, Ramirez plays bike messenger Vanessa, the on-again, off-again girlfriend of fellow bike messenger Wilee, played by “Dark Knight Rises” hottie Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As one of New York City ubiquitous urban bicycle messengers, Ramirez navigates the crowded city streets alongside Gordon-Levitt in an action packed, suspense-filled ride that becomes wild once a certain package – and crooked police detective – gets involved.
“This is my first co-leading role in a film and I was so excited to play opposite an actor as talented as Joseph,” says the 32-year-old. “And I’m an athlete myself, so I’m always attracted to action-driven roles. Plus, I loved that my character was such a cool chick, but also vulnerable in a way audiences wouldn’t expect.”
Ramirez – who may best be remembered for her stint as Maya Herrera in the hit series “Heroes” – says that she loved training for six weeks in Los Angeles leading up to filming in New York City. Getting into shape to spend an upwards of 12 hours of a time on a bike seat, she explains, was easily one of the best experiences of her life.
“I really had to work on getting my endurance up for this film where I’m on a bike in nearly every scene, but it was so rewarding and now I’m in the best shape of my life,” says Ramirez, who loved her biking experience so much that she’s currently training for a triathlon in September. “And junk in the trunk? That definitely does help you, but it’s also about proper riding technique.”
And now that she’s wrapped up “Premium Rush,” Ramirez isn’t taking any breaks. She’s currently filming “Devious Maids” alongside fellow Latinas Roselyn Sánchez, Ana Ortiz and Judy Reyes. The new Lifetime series – created by Desperate Housewives’ producer Marc Cherry and co-executive produced by Eva Longoria – features four Latinas who work for the rich and famous in the upscale community of Beverly Hills.
Ramirez plays Rosa, a newly-arrived immigrant who leaves her baby behind in Mexico to pursue better opportunities as she works for a high-strung married pair of Hollywood actors.
“I’m really proud of portraying the Latin community with this role, simply because there aren’t enough jobs for Latinos in Hollywood,” says Ramirez. And when asked about the heated controversy surrounding the new series, she’s blunt.
“There’s no backside to portraying Latino. I’d rather play a proud Latina working for a living than play a drug dealer,” says Ramirez, whose parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was just six months old, living her behind to live with her grandmother until she was 10. “Yes, these women may be maids – but they’re multi-dimensional with very real ambitions and dreams.”
“My approach is that I’m playing a very real Latin woman in a very real circumstance and I’m proud of that.”