Daniela Ruah was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Portuguese citizens Dr. Moisés Carlos Bentes Ruah and his wife, Katharina Lia Azancot Korn. When Ruah was five years old, her father completed his residency and the family returned to Portugal. She attended an international, English-medium school.
Ruah has a distinguishable birthmark in her right eye while the other eye is hazel giving her that amazing two different colour tone eyes.
Ruah’s father is from a prominent Portuguese Sephardic Jewish family. Her grandmother, Vera, was born in Lisbon, Portugal and Vera’s mother was a Ukrainian Ashkenazi Jew from Odessa. She is the great-grand niece of the captain Artur Carlos de Barros Basto. She also has distant ancestors from São Tomé and Príncipe.
Ruah attended St Julian’s School in Carcavelos, near Lisbon. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from London Metropolitan University. She started acting in Portuguese soap operas when she was a teen. Her first acting role came at the age of 16, when she auditioned for the soap opera Jardins Proibidos (“Forbidden Gardens”) and won the role of Sara.
Ruah kept working on diverse projects while she was finishing high school. At the age of 18, she moved to London to study at the London Metropolitan University, where she earned a First in Performing Arts.
Ruah returned to Portugal to pursue her acting career. She was the winner of the celebrity dancing competition Dança Comigo and got main roles in television series, short films, and theatre. In 2007, she moved to New York to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Ruah currently stars as Special Agent Kensi Blye in NCIS: Los Angeles, which first aired on September 22, 2009. In 2011, Ruah portrayed Kensi Blye in a guest appearance on the series Hawaii Five-0.
She is an active member of the Portuguese Jewish community in Lisbon.
“There’s I’d say between four- and five-hundred Portuguese Jews. Not a lot out of 10½ million to 11 million people. My family is probably the biggest family there. But coming from a small community makes you want to follow the traditions of your family much more.”
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