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Yaya DaCosta Interview Magazine

Yaya DaCosta Interview Magazine

Interview Snippet :: As she anxiously struggled to get through her very first scene on her very first day on the set of her very first movie, Take the Lead, Yaya DaCosta was taken aside by the film’s ever-smoldering star, Antonio Banderas, who, in his native Spanish, offered words of encouragement. "He said, ‘You know, every actress who’s ever had her first scene with me has gone on to become very, very successful,’" recalls the 23-year-old Harlem native.

From losing a contest on the catwalk to finding her footing with the foxtrot, she’s bringing the heat to ballroom dancing’s latest big-screen twirl.  Interview Magazine spotlights  actress/model Yaya DaCosta (runner-up from Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model) in their latest April 2006 issue.  Full resolution image in the gallery and entire article after the jump!

Yaya DaCosta

Interview Magazine April 2006

As she anxiously struggled to get through her very first scene on her very first day on the set of her very first movie, Take the Lead, Yaya DaCosta was taken aside by the film’s ever-smoldering star, Antonio Banderas, who, in his native Spanish, offered words of encouragement. "He said, ‘You know, every actress who’s ever had her first scene with me has gone on to become very, very successful,’" recalls the 23-year-old Harlem native.

Despite the fact she was standing across from one of Spain’s most celebrated exports, it’s still easy to understand DaCosta’s anxiety. Growing up in upper Manhattan, she had wanted to be an actress her whole life and nurtured the kernel of that dream since the age of 4, attending various neighborhood after-school programs, where she learned to sing, dance, and perform. She was eventually accepted by the prestigious La-Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts (the Fame School) but instead opted for the family business: education (her mother was the founder of the Central Harlem Montessori School, and her father, a college professor). DaCosta followed her two older siblings to boarding school in New England before attending Brown University. "I had always intended on acting at Brown," says DaCosta. "But between classes and having a job, it just didn’t work out." Instead, she studied languages, increasing the number she speaks to four (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French), majored in international relations and African studies, and developed a plan: "I figured I would graduate and head to New York or L.A. and give acting a real shot. If for some reason I didn’t make it, then I’d have my degree to fall back on."

Things didn’t exactly work out that way. DaCosta was persuaded by her sister and college roommates to try out for Tyra Banks’s reality show, America’s Next Top Model, was accepted, and ended up finishing the third season as runner-up. Soon after, she was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency and did her first bit of onscreen performing in a short film by Isaac Mizrahi called Supermodel Hero before landing a part in Take the Lead. The film, which also marks the feature debut of music-video director Liz Friedlander (R.E.M., Gwen Stefani, Counting Crows), is based on the life of Pierre Dulaine and tells the story of a former professional ballroom dancer (brought to life by an almost effortlessly smooth Banderas) who volunteers to teach a ragtag group of kids at a rough New York City public school—including one particularly fleet-footed 17-year-old girl from New York, played by Da-Costa. Given the actress’s own background, it’s no wonder that she feels like she was born for the part. As for whether she’ll ever have to fall back on that degree: "I don’t know," she says. "I’m not counting on having to use it—I’ve been blessed by Antonio Banderas."

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  • liteflyr

    yea i went to a screening of that movie. eh, not as good as i hoped but entertaining nonetheless. as for her performance … well, she did her best, haha.and rufio is hot (dante basco ;))

  • J’Vawnna

    I liked the movie. It wasn’t the greatest film in the world but it was good in my opinion. I personally went to see it to be supportive of Yaya for I think she is great and talented. She is definitely a role model of mine and I am one of her dedicated fans cause I truly think she was robbed of the title of "America’s Next Top Model" and that is the truth. In addition, I think Yaya did an excellent job portraying her character and I look forward to her future work in film. Thank you.