Many know Daniela Ruah as Field Agent Kensi Blye on NCIS: Los Angeles. The Portuguese actress has played the character since its 2009 creation. Fans likely noticed one of Ruah’s unique eyes while watching. Here’s what the star wants viewers to know about a condition she embraces.
Daniela Ruah’s eye condition is harmless
If you look close enough at Daniela Ruah’s eyes, you’ll notice one is darker than the other. The condition is relative to a blemish on the eye.
“It happened when I was a kid. You know how Barbies have the little plastic hands? One of them stuck in my eye when I was sleeping,” she joked to Esquire in 2011. She eventually came clean.
“It’s a birthmark called nevus of Ota. It covers the whole white of my eye and darkens it. The square of the eye, the white part, is completely dark on my right eye, not just the iris,” she said.
“It’s very common in Asian people but quite rare in Caucasians. It doesn’t affect my vision or anything like that.”
Those affected by nevus of Ota are clinically described as having, “increased amounts of melanin (pigment) and melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) in and around their eyes,” according to the New York Eye Cancer Center.
Those with the condition are at a greater risk of developing an eye cancer and it affects more women than men. However, the “birthmark” doesn’t seem to affect Ruah’s eyesight.
Does the condition affect Ruah’s career?
The short answer is no. Ruah was born in America but moved to Portugal when she was five. She landed her first acting role at 16 and moved to London, England at 18 where she attended the Performing Arts at the London Metropolitan University. She graduated with honors, according to IMDb.
By 2007 — two years shy of becoming a part of the NCIS franchise — Ruah made the move to New York City where she studied at the “Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.”
The actress even competed in Portugal’s 2006-2007 version of America’s Dancing With the Stars. The show is Danca Comigo, and Ruah won proving nevus of Ota can’t hold her back.
“It starts the conversation, if anything. But I don’t think it’s ever gotten me a job or lost me a job,” she said.
However, there have been times adjustments have to be made on set to get the right shot.
“When we’re shooting, sometimes they need to light my eye in a slightly different way,” she explained. “Otherwise, it looks like there’s a big shadow over it.”
Here’s 1 thing Ruah wants everyone to know about her eyes
If you want to stay on Ruah’s good side, there’s one thing to never, ever do, and it’s in regards to her distinctive eye. Don’t use Photoshop to edit out the dark of her eye.
“It drives me crazy. This is my eye, my little trademark,” she said, owning who she is with zero apologies. We’re here for it.