The Little Girl From 'Pan's Labyrinth' Is All Grown Up: Meet Ivana Baquero! (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Stanton
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
The world was first introduced to Ivana Baquero when she was just 11 years old, as the star of Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy fable, Pan’s Labyrinth. But now, the 23-year-old is all grown up, travelling the world and starring in Spike TV’s fantasy adventure series, The Shannara Chronicles.
“It's been 10 years, and for me, it's such a good opportunity to be able to be in a show like Shannara, which is such a big kind of American production,” Baquero told ET over the phone on Wednesday. “And growing up from Pan's Labyrinth and being in a show like this is very, very special for me.”
Before she went on to travel the world as an international star, Baquero grew up in Barcelona, where she began learning English at age three while attending The American School in Barcelona, and credits her bilingual skills for helping her pursue acting at a young age.
“The first movie I ever did when I was eight was in English,” she shared. “Probably had I not known English or spoken English, I maybe wouldn't have gone into the acting world at all.”
Baquero stuck with it, though, and went on to win major acclaim as the young heroine, Ofelia, in Pan’s Labyrinth. Even as a young actress, she was able to grasp the epic nature of the film.
“I think the moment I did step on set and I saw the magnitude of it is when I started realizing that it was actually, you know, quite a big project,” she recalled.
The actress also credits working with del Toro and the crew as an amazing opportunity, and one that led her to acting full time.
“I feel like being in Pan's Labyrinth was like going to acting school,” Baquero said. “As such a young actor to have all that knowledge and be able to work in such an amazing production with other great professionals and crew members was a good learning experience... I think, in a way, it just made me mature and take it as a job rather than as a hobby.”
Acting has certainly gone beyond a hobby for the Shannara Chronicles star, but she admitted that in transitioning her career from her native Spain to the U.S., she’s seen the challenges Hispanic actors can face.
“I've been really lucky, I guess, because of where I started with Pan's Labyrinth, and it opened so many doors for me," she revealed. "But I have a lot of friends that come from Spain, and they do struggle as Hispanic actors."
“But, I always say it's truly just a matter of finding your place in the world because ultimately we all have that little place where we belong in," she added.
Baquero also sees a change in the quality of roles for women, and loves playing her tough character on The Shannara Chronicles, Eretria.
“To have the opportunity to play such a powerful female character who, she's vulnerable, but at the same time she's a badass and she's a fighter, is really special because I feel like I also get to be a part of that change and of the movement,” she said.
While she is looking to inspire others, there is someone that Baquero herself looks up to: Penelope Cruz.
“I've had the opportunity to meet her many times and she's just, she's so amazing, she's so intelligent. She made it in the United States, she has an amazing career,” Baquero gushed.
Cruz’s success has encouraged her to follow the same path to international success.
“I've always wanted to come to the United States because there's so many opportunities, there's so many things going on. But my dream has always been to able to work both in the states and in Spain. Ultimately, if I could both industries, that would just be my dream,” she said.
The Shannara Chronicles airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Spike TV.
And for more on Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro's latest work, watch the video below!