When you consider that Marilyn Monroe will forever be associated with the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” the fact that Ana de Armas is playing the late icon in Andrew Dominik’s buzzy upcoming biopic Blonde couldn’t be more fitting. The 34-year-old actor most definitely wears diamonds in the film, which was notably rated NC-17, but they’re all fake—though it would take an eye like de Armas’s to tell. She’s been dripping in the real deal on the regular ever since striking up her first brand partnership with the Natural Diamond Council two years ago. And they haven’t been just any diamonds: They’ve come courtesy of a group with the mission to make the modern diamond jewelry industry the best it can be, adhering to strict regulations to minimize mines’ impacts on local environments and supporting the livelihoods of more than 10 million people around the world.
Fortunately, Blonde wrapped in time for de Armas to be able to introduce and celebrate with the second batch of up-and-comers in the NDC’S Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, a partnership with Lorraine Schwartz dedicated to supporting emerging BIPOC jewelers. (The collections of this year’s batch—Casey Perez, Corey Anthony Jones of Gaudy Atelier, Halle Millien of Heart the Stones, Lana Ogilvie of Sabre Jewelry, Mckenzie Liautaud, and Ruben Manuel—will be available on 1stdibs later this week.) Just before unveiling their designs, de Armas explained why diamonds mean so much to her and reminisced on accidentally sending diamonds flying during her No Time to Die fight scenes. (Plus, revealed whether or not she’s heard of Ana de Armas Updates, the Twitter account beloved for its ultra-passionate cataloging of her daily activities.)
How much did you wear diamonds before partnering with the NDC?
You know, for very special occasions—red carpets, film festivals, things like that. Definitely not as often as I do now.
Does wearing them still feel like a big deal?
Oh, yes. Diamonds are special. They’re a miracle from nature. And coming from Cuba, this was not something I ever dreamed of. So it’s always special and meaningful. Even if it’s for an event or something where obviously you have to return them after, those diamonds will forever be a part of that memory, the person who was there with you. They definitely represent very special moments and company.
What was one of those first memories?
For sure, one of the biggest deals for me was my first time in Cannes for [the premiere of] Hands of Stone. I was just so happy.
I would always be so scared to lose them.
I am! I always am, but what can I say? I prefer to take the risk.
Do you remember the first time you splurged on jewelry?
I bought these medium[-size] hoops with all these little diamonds three or four years ago. It was kind of a big deal for me. I lost them at some point and I was devastated because it’s not just the money: They represent so many things. They represent that I was feeling good, celebrating what was going on in my life and my career. That’s why you buy these things—to treat yourself and feel proud and good. But with all this traveling and moving for work… Then, not long ago, a friend of mine found them at her house in a little suitcase with, you know, hair tools and chargers. I got them right away and I’ve been wearing them all summer.
What jewelry do you wear on a day-to-day basis?
A bunch of rings, little chains. I usually don’t take them off when I go to sleep so I try not to strangle myself.
You wore some very memorable diamonds in No Time to Die.
They were a beautiful set from Chopard, so obviously natural diamonds. During the shoot, I had security guys following me everywhere. And I had this beautiful bracelet that I kept breaking every time I punched someone. I was having these fights, doing stunts, and the stones were falling on the floor. Everyone would have to stop and keep looking for them. There was this guy who was on this Cuban set with all these extras and someone there to repair them and put them back together with this tiny, tiny wire. I was like, That is definitely not holding up.
That’s so funny when they obviously could have used fakes.
You can tell. It was just so special and perfect for the character—the perfect touch for a Bond girl. I don’t think I’ve ever worn diamonds in any other movie.
Do you prefer getting dressed up for roles like that, or dressing down like you did in Knives Out?
Well, I wouldn’t choose high heels for a shoot. You know, it depends. It was so funny because these movies were actually back to back, and in Knives Out, Daniel [Craig] and I were pretty casual and dressed down. And then a couple of months later, we were in a tuxedo and diamonds on a completely different set. It was a big change, but that’s the fun of it.
Do you plan to watch the sequel?
For sure I’m watching. I can’t wait to see it. Him, Rian [Johnson, the writer and director]—I’m so happy for them.
I’m bummed you won’t be in it though.
I know, me too! [Laughs.]
Is there any other jewelry you’ve worn for a role that stands out?
I mean obviously for Blonde, my upcoming film, there was some jewelry that we had to recreate. But those [diamonds] were not real. It just [would have been] too much. But I feel like they did the trick.
Before you go, I’m so curious if you’re aware of the Twitter account Ana de Armas Updates?
Mm, no…? I don’t think so.
Well, they’re your biggest fans. It’s really a delight.
Oh, okay. [Laughs.] That makes me happy.