Dania Ramirez says it’s groundbreaking to play Cinderella on “Once Upon a Time” as a Latina actress

Ahead of Season 7, the cast and crew of Once Upon a Time have teased that a lot of change is coming to the show — one such change being the addition of Dania Ramirez as Cinderella. Speaking with reporters at Comic-Con, the actress (Devious Maids, X-Men: The Last Stand) addressed what the role means to her.

And a big part of what it means has to do with representation.

"It's really great," Ramirez said of joining the fantasy drama. "It's really groundbreaking for me as an actress in general, as a Latina actress in general, to come in and know how important this particular role is."

She’s also excited about the universality.

“Growing up, you know these fairy tales for being universal,” she continued. “Love and struggle and pain is universal. So, it doesn’t matter who is playing [these characters]. What matters is, what is the essential outcome of it? I think, for me, that was the most exciting part of the journey, to know that I was going to be a part of this universal story.”

Ramirez went on to detail what her version of Cinderella — Jessy Schram previously played a different version of the character — is about.

“It didn’t matter where I was from or what I looked like,” she said. “It really is about capturing the relationships and being honest and true to a different set of rules in a different light, in a different struggle. I don’t think we’ve ever seen this particular Cinderella story being told. That’s what I’m most excited about people watching.”

The actress also addressed the secrecy surrounding her casting, explaining that even she didn’t know what she was auditioning for when she met with Once‘s creative team.

And she spoke of the significance of her role in relation to Adult Henry (Andrew J. West):

"They were just interested in like, 'Who is this girl? How is she just gonna come in and do this role?' The main thing was: 'Does she have chemistry with Andrew?' Because, he's about to go on a quest for his own story and his own life. What was important was, 'Can we tell a different story with a completely different perspective?'"

We’re hopeful that Ramirez and her co-stars can, and look forward to watching that all play out when Once Upon a Time returns to ABC on October 6th.