Femme on Fire: Dania Ramirez

By Michael J. Lockhart

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Last week we revelled in our teen years with the latest slice of American Pie: the hilarious American Reunion. Though we were excited to see the returning pranks, girls, and Allison Hannigan’s flute skills in action, our favorite thing about the film had to be our sexy new woman to watch.

Known for her badass roles, our latest Femme on Fire has recently been seen as street fighting mutant Callisto in X-Men: The Last Stand, Turtle’s fling Alex in Entourage, and the deadly Maya in Heroes.

We recently hung out with Dania Ramirez to chat about joining the American Reunion crew, her perpetual role as the new girl, and being in tune with her sexuality.

Playboy.com: Tell us about playing (former) band geek Selena in American Reunion?

Ramirez: It was very exciting for me, because I’ve been a fan of the movie since 1999. I sort of have familiarity with the other characters because I was supposed to have gone to school with them. I was in band and the ugly duckling back in high school, and now I’ve turned into the swan. It was really cool! I get to have this love interest too as well with Finch. That was awesome!

Playboy.com: Did you feel like the new girl with such an established ensemble cast?

Ramirez: I like being the new girl on set! I love it because there’s no pressure. The mood on set was always laid back, everyone’s joking. I was born in the Dominican Republic and I moved to the States when I was ten. So I’ve had that experience of walking into a school and being around people who have known each other before; it’s not that different. It happens on other ensemble casts, when I was on Entourage that was already happening and on the Sopranos too.

Playboy.com: This is the cast of American Reunion, there must be some crazy things that happened off screen?

Ramirez: Not much aside from Jason Biggs and the guys pretending to masturbating on a regular basis while we were shooting scenes. [laughs] You know what I mean? It’s not like it’s supposed to be raunchy for no reason. We shot it in Atlanta during the summer so there’s a lot of skin. I’m originally from an island so I’m like, “bikini? Whatever, let’s do it!” [laughs]

Playboy.com: Tell us about your own high school experience. Was it anything like American Pie?

Ramirez: I came in being completely awkward and I wasn’t the best looking girl. But I left school as this open, Americanized girl that played sports. By my senior year I was one of the best players on my volleyball team, so it ended up being a good experience.

But my prom and all that…it wasn’t the best. High school relationships are hard. That’s why I loved the movie to be honest with you. I could totally relate to that. Even the pressure to have sex before you leave school to me was…growing up. That was something I could relate to, because that’s something you really struggle with, your first kiss, losing your virginity, that moment and what it meant, and is somebody going to talk about it the next day at school.

Playboy.com: We find it hard to believe you weren’t as gorgeous as you are today.

Ramirez: [Laughs] Don’t find it too hard! I was a tomboy growing up in my country. I was on the George Lopez show and I showed him a picture…he couldn’t believe it! He said I looked like a little boy.

Playboy.com: You’re a regular feature on several hottest women lists, how does it feel to be this sex figure for men?

Ramirez: I love it. I’m a woman, there’s something about me that’s very in tune with my sexuality and sensuality ,and I feel that I’m a very passionate woman at that. I think that’s part of life and I embrace it. I enjoy being sexy, I think everyone should.

Playboy.com: What would be your favorite body part?

Ramirez: Dammit. What is the bone by your neck?

Playboy.com: Your collarbone?

Ramirez: Yeah! There’s something about it for me that’s very powerful. It’s right by your neck and it always makes me feel like—oh, I wish someone would kiss all that.

Playboy.com: We read that Spike Lee sent you to Lesbian Boot Camp for She Hate Me, what exactly did that consist of? We’re very curious.

Ramirez: That basically entails having a lot of conversations with women. We basically were just talking with women about relationships and getting an understanding of what that was. At the end of the day we found out that it’s no different than a male-female relationship. We had nights out with the girls too, we went to bars, strip clubs, hung out…

Playboy.com: You’re going to be starring in Premium Rush this summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What can you tell us about your character?

Ramirez: She’s this really outspoken, tough, Dominican girl from New York City. She’s a hard ass and rides her bike like one of the guys. But she’s vulnerable when it comes to her relationships. Michael Shannon kills it as a villain in the film by the way; I get to put him in his place.

Playboy.com: Do you enjoy playing the badass?

Ramirez: Yeah. It’s not just being the villain; it’s about being a villain with heart, and being tough but having vulnerabilities. I’d love to be able to play around with that in more of a leading role. Not just this hot girl who can kick some ass, but someone who’s also vulnerable. That’s real.

Playboy.com: What was your first time reading Playboy?

Ramirez: I grew up in a small town without running water, by the time I got to see Playboy’s I had no idea what was the first one. I do love Playboy though; I think a woman’s body should be celebrated.

American Reunion is now in theaters. Follow Dania on Twitter at @DaniaJRamirez


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