Danay García sometimes wraps filming the new season of Fear the Walking Dead at 5 a.m., yet on her ride home from the series’ locations in Mexico she looks out the window and feels utter gratitude. “I’m so proud of it. I really wanted to represent this Latina who is fearless. I want people to see this woman who represents the Latino community and is absolutely powerful,” the Cuban actress tells CHICA.
The adrenaline of playing ‘Luciana’ — a kickass Latina who kills zombies and defies all odds to stay alive in an apocalyptic setting — sometimes doesn’t allow her to fall asleep, no matter how tired she is after a day’s filming. “I don’t know where I get all the energy this character demands,” she admits. “It’s a character that has challenged me so much on so many levels.”
Besides killing scary-looking ‘Walkers’ with shotguns, she has to deal with unexpected factors of filming in rural areas, like hearing the sound of snake nearby as she was concentrating on a scene. “Mother Nature can really spook you out!” she recalls with a laugh. “Mexico is such a powerful land. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. You can hear weird noises. Every day is an adventure.”
The former ballet dancer — also known for her role in Prison Break — left Cuba and came to the United States in search of the American Dream when she was 18 years old. She “didn’t know a word of English” and was coming with her 2-year-old son, now 17, but she found a way to succeed. “I was a child and I also had a child with me,” she says. “Every day I just tried to contribute and do my best. I had the best attitude. I was always ready to go.”
She started going to castings and doing commercials until acting breaks came up. “I was just focused and raising my son the best I could. I was 22 when I started being a single parent,” she reveals. Her son is now starting college and wants to study finance. What’s García’s career advice? “I tell him: ‘Sweetheart you have to love it. That’s the only way you will face all obstacles,” she adds. “Being able to be part of his college experience is a dream come true. I’m able to watch over his dreams.”
This year she will also take her son for the first time to Cuba so he can reconnect with his roots. She is a long way from her island, but says she celebrates her culture daily in her home in Los Angeles, where she enjoys a good café con leche in the morning and cooks killer tostones.
García — who wrote, directed and produced La Cura, a short film that premiered at the Baja California International Film Festival — seems to be a master at living life to the fullest. “If you focus on how to turn obstacles into gifts, that’s the mindset that helps you be better,” she concludes. “It helps you become the best version of yourself.”