The Dominican actress played Cinderella in Once Upon a Time and will soon star in Tell Me a Story, a modern-day “Hansel and Gretel,” but nothing is as magical as raising twins.

By Leslie Corona
Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock How did you feel when you learned you were pregnant with twins?

Dania Ramirez: Shocked! I had just started Devious Maids. I was excited to find out it was a boy and a girl, because it meant we didn’t have to do this again. Multiples runs in my family. My grandmother had triplets.

Have you taken them to the Dominican Republic to meet your relatives?

The twins, who are 4, have already been twice to visit my grandmother. She’s the one who raised me while my parents worked in the United States, and I wanted her to enjoy my kids.

What’s the best advice she’s given you that you want to pass on to your kids?

When I was growing up, Abuela always said, “God is always with you, so there isn’t any sense in crying for things that you think you want. He will always give you what you need.”

What was it like adjusting to American culture when you left D.R.?

I was almost 10 when I came to the States, and it was such a culture shock. I didn’t even grow up with a TV! I’m currently writing a book about immigration and what being an American means to me. I define it as having the guts to live the way you want to and having the heart to accept others for doing the same, while working your butt off to make your dreams come true.

Was it a dream to take on the role of Cinderella?

It’s such an iconic character, and as a Latina and a person of color, I never thought I’d play a Disney princess. Little girls can have something to look up to. It lets them know they can be anything.

Where did you come up with the names Gaia and Aether?

I gave them unique names with meaning. I enlisted my husband to find the perfect names for our twins! Gaia means the “Greek goddess of Earth,” and Aether means the “Greek god of the upper air that only gods could breathe.”

How similar are the twins from one another?

I’m raising polar opposites! The twins started karate, and their personalities come through on the mat. Gaia takes it seriously, like she wants to be a real ninja. Aether lives in the moment and wants to have a blast.

Do the kids like to wear matching outfits?

I don’t try to dress them the same. Occasionally, Gaia wants to wear Aether’s clothes, so sometimes they’ll wear similar shirts. She’ll say, “I want to be a boy today!” because his outfits look more comfy. I’m okay with her dressing how she wants. I want them to feel free to be whatever they want to be.

This article originally appeared in Parents Latina Magazine as 'Dania Ramirez’s Real-Life Fairy Tale.'

Parents Latina Magazine


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