(2009/2020 • DRAMA / ACTION)
Daniela as Kensi Marie Blye
Status: On Hiatus
Sundays 9/8c, only on CBS
NCIS: Los Angeles is a drama about the high-stakes world of a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals, who pose a threat to the nation’s security.
(2020 • DRAMA / THRILLER)
Daniela as Maria João Mascarenhas
Status: NO AR (Portugal)
“Num país onde as luzes nunca se apagam, uma mulher da alta sociedade está disposta a tudo para salvar a sua pátria de uma invasão estrangeira”.
Article by Fred Bronson
Photo by Jeff Katz Photography
On May 13, 2017, Salvador Sobral won the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest with “Amar Pelos Dois,” written by his sister, Luisa Sobral. It was the first win for Portugal in 49 tries over 54 years and broke the longest winless streak of any country. By tradition, the winning country hosts the contest the following year, which is why the 2018 competition will take place in Lisbon on May 12 (following two semi-finals on May 8 and 10). Portugal’s state broadcaster, RTP, has announced the names of the four hosts of the 2018 broadcast: Filomena Cautela, Silvia Alberto, Catarina Furtado and Daniela Ruah. While the first three names may not be familiar to most Americans, Ruah is well-known in the U.S. for starring in CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles. It’s rare for an American to host Eurovision, though not unprecedented: in 2006, Maria Menounos was one of the hosts of the first competition to be held in Athens, following Greece’s win in 2005.
Billboard sat down with Ruah over an early-morning breakfast in Encino, Calif., to discuss her hosting duties and her personal history with the Eurovision Song Contest.
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You were five years old when your family moved from the U.S. to Portugal. What was that move like for you as a child?
We had some transitions before that. I was born in Boston, and when I was two and a half, my parents moved to Minneapolis. And then from there, when I was five, we moved back to Portugal. But before that, a lot of family members had come to visit us and we had been back to Portugal many times because my whole family lived there. Both my parents are Portuguese. And so it wasn’t weird to transition back. My parents spoke Portuguese to me in the house so I understood everything. I replied to them in English, just because my whole life outside of the house, school and everything, was spoken in English. My cousins would speak to me in Portuguese and I had to reply to them in Portuguese, too. The transition to Portugal wasn’t traumatic in the slightest. Everybody was familiar to me. It was just a new school but I’m pretty outgoing, so none of that really affected me that much.
Growing up in Portugal, at what point did you know what your career was going to be?
Early on, my parents noticed an aptitude for being a show-off. I loved attention. I was always saying, “Watch me do this, watch me do that,” which I now realize with my own kids is a phase that most kids go through. I love dance and my mom put me in tap dancing when I was really young. I never pursued it but my interest turned to ballet and gymnastics and then acting classes. I was one of the lucky people who found what I loved at a really young age. When I was 16, I got my first job in a Portuguese soap opera and I realized how much I really loved it.
When you were growing up in Portugal, did you watch the Eurovision Song Contest?
Absolutely. It’s such a big event back home. It was part of our lives. We’d talk about it in school the next day. It’s the longest running televised competition in the world and it’s hard not to get excited about it. To this day, when you get together with friends, we ask each other, “Oh, do you remember that old song?” and we start singing something that was performed long ago.
Where were you when you watched Portugal win Eurovision in 2017?
I was at my mom’s house in Portugal, and my husband was there too along with my kids and my nieces and nephews. We were all watching even though it was super late but we knew that Salvador had a really good chance of winning. His [jury] points kept going up and up and up and we were on the edge of our seats and we still had to wait another hour until the people’s votes came in. It was very exciting. My husband had never even heard of Eurovision before, and he was just as excited. He kept saying, “This is amazing. This is amazing.”
How did you feel when Sobral won, giving Portugal its first victory after competing 49 times over 54 years?
I’m very patriotic when it comes to Portugal and to see him win by singing in Portuguese with something so simple, just him onstage, I think every Portuguese person at that moment felt like they had won something, too. Because you’re also putting this small country, which is such an underdog in so many situations, on the map. We had 20 million tourists last year. We’re a country of 11 million people. So he’s just adding into the growing popularity of the country. He’s giving it a good name.