The gorgeous Zulay Henao is one lucky lady. She landed a starring role opposite the equally beautiful Channing Tatum and Oscar nominee Terrence Howard in the new film Fighting, opening in theaters across the country today. But it wasn't all dumb luck for the Colombian actress who has taken Hollywood by storm since bursting onto the big screen in 2006 with parts in both Feel the Noise and Illegal Tender—a lot of determination and persistence came into play as well. She sat down with Latina.com to share some unexpected details of her past and tell us what she thinks is worth fighting for:
You're career has really taken off over the last two years. Has it been overwhelming or were you prepared for everything?
The last couple of years have been so much fun! It's been such a time of exploration for me. I made this whole new move to LA and I haven't even had time to think about how this happened. I'm just enjoying it and having fun. It's been so amazing.
Did you always know you wanted to be an actress? Or was it something that you kind of fell into?
Being born in Medellin, Colombia and coming here when I was 4 years old my parents were always telling me, "Go to school, thats what's important." At the time, acting just didn't seem like something I had access to. It wasn't until I joined the Army that I really realized that I could really do anything.
What?! You were in the Army?
I joined when I was 17-years-old and was active duty for 3 years because I wanted money to go to college. The Army really put things into perspective for me and made me realize there's a whole big world out there and that I have access to everything because I have everything I need within me.
It seems like you're the kind of girl who's not afraid to go out there and fight for what you want. What other things do you think are worth fighting for?
Well, one thing definitely worth fighting for is your dreams. Everything in life is a struggle, fighting to have people believe in you, fighting to have people look at you and respect your work. In the Army I felt like I had to fight to make people understand that I was going to pull my own weight. As women we fight to ultimately be viewed as equal, and I think there are struggles we all face in our day-to-day lives that reflect that.
It seems like the film Fighting reflects a lot of things that you've experienced and believe in. What would you like people to take away from the story?
The film is really about three people who finds themselves at very low points in their lives and have to fight to trust and believe in themselves and other people again. It just reminds you that you can do anything you want to do at any point in your life—regardless of where you are or what you've done before—and I think that's really important for people to remember.
Fighting, directed by Dito Montiel and starring Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard and Zulay Henao opens nationwide today, April, 24th, 2009.