Zulay Henao—yes, that is her real name—is a Colombian native who is living the American dream. She has officially made it as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies and continues to successfully hold her own alongside several top acting giants. A woman has a strong sense of faith, Henao believes in staying strong and positive. Perhaps she gets that from her strong family background, or from serving three years in the US army. Either way, Henao is one tough Latina who’s willing to fight for her success. Perhaps that’s why she is amazing in her new film, Boy Wonder, where she plays a tough as nails homicide detective. We chatted with the screen siren about overcoming personal obstacles, what it means to be sexy, and how she’s gearing up for her next challenge-Comic Con.
nocheLatina: I’m sorry to hear about your recent loss. Is this something you wish to speak about or would you preferred to keep it private? We’ll respect your wishes.
Zulay Henao: Thank you. Losing my grandfather was devastating in many ways. I lost one of my greatest friends and loves. He was one of the most intelligent, strongest, dynamic, and kindest people I knew.
nocheLatina: When something like this happens how do you remain strong and positive?
Zulay Henao: I learned from him that you just have to keep on going, even when life gets hard. He had one of the most amazing outlooks on life and taught me to be a fighter and to always trust God's will.
nocheLatina: Regarding your exotic name, Zulay Henao, do people often mistake it for a stage name?
Zulay Henao: [Laughs] Yes, it happens quite a bit. I politely say, ‘No, it's really my name’ and smile [Laughs]. And then we go through the other questions that follow, like ‘What does it mean’ and ‘Where is it from?’ I love my name.
nocheLatina: Are you named after anyone in particular?
Zulay Henao: My mom named me after a young Arabic bride she read about in the paper once. She was getting married in Colombia and my mom loved her name. Years later she gave it to me. My mom is a very interesting woman to say the least.
nocheLatina: You are definitely a sexy woman. What would you define sexy as?
Zulay Henao: Wow, thank you! Sexy is an attitude. I believe it's quiet, but strong confidence. Its how a woman carries herself.
nocheLatina: What do you think makes you sexy?
Zulay Henao: Being a woman is phenomenal, I always say that. I love being a woman and I guess maybe it shows [Laughs].
nocheLatina: Can you tell me what your new film, Boy Wonder, is about?
Zulay Henao: Boy Wonder is awesome! It's the story about a young man, Sean, who witnesses the tragic murder of his mother as young boy. As he gets older he becomes sort of obsessed with trying to avenge her death. I play a newly appointed homicide detective who is also obsessed with work. She finds a strong connection to Sean and goes on this journey with him. Yes it is dark and gritty, but very real and different from anything I have done up to this point. I am very proud of it and can't wait for people to get a chance to see it!
nocheLatina: Who are you co-stars in the film?
Zulay Henao: Caleb Steinmeyer, who plays Sean, is amazing. Danny Sherman plays my partner Gary who definitely adds the comical relief in the movie. And we also have James Russo who plays Larry Childs. It was a great time working with all these talented people.
nocheLatina: Please describe your character in the film.
Zulay Henao: My character, Teresa Ames, is a workaholic who has pretty much lost her husband and son because of it. She is definitely on the fast track as far as her career is concerned, but carries this sense of sadness. She is self-centered and a bit egotistical, but also soft and just a bit lost. I really enjoyed creating moments for her. Like I said earlier this is something completely different from what I have done in the past. She was definitely a challenging character because she has so many layers to her as a woman, a working woman and a mother.
nocheLatina: Boy Wonder will be screening at New York Comic Con. Are you prepared for the onslaught of geeks that will be coming at you with very detailed questions about the film?
Zulay Henao: Yes! I was actually introduced to this whole phenomenon at the Chicago Comic Con. It was my first time to ever attend and it was definitely interesting to see how there is this whole dedicated fan base for this type of movie. I loved it. People were so into it. I am looking forward to New York for sure.
nocheLatina: I’ve seen your Twitter posts and you seem to be a very spiritual person. How important is your faith?
Zulay Henao: Yes, I am very spiritual, but more so than that I love God. Faith and love for God allows me to live without fear. This is important to me because when life gets hard and complicated I have someone that won't leave my side and whom I can count on. That is huge.
nocheLatina: How do you remain positive?
Zulay Henao: I honestly believe that it is the only way to be. When you find the positive side to every situation you open yourself up to a whole new way of living. It makes life fun and interesting and almost always there is a lesson to be learned. But you have to look for those opportunities by staying open, smiling, and really asking yourself, ‘What is there for me to learn?’
Photos courtesy of Zulay Henao's Facebook page.