Úrsula Corberó is just 29 years old but has already been acting for more than half of her life. The Barcelona-born beauty started appearing in commercials at age six and booked her first TV role, in the Catalan drama Mirall Trencat (Broken Mirror), at 13. It was – both literally and figuratively – a dream come true.
“We used to watch TV every night before going to bed. Sometimes we’d even wake up in the middle of the night in the sitting room – I loved going to sleep with the sound of the TV on in the background,” she recalls. “My favourite programme when I was little was Lluvia de Estrellas [an adaption of the Dutch show Stars in Their Eyes]. It featured children imitating pop stars; I’d tell my mother that I wanted to go on the programme.”
Having appeared in a number of Spanish TV series, including her critically acclaimed portrayal of a bulimic woman in Física o Química (Physics or Chemistry), and movies such as Perdiendo el Norte (Off Course) and Cómo Sobrevivir a una Despedida (How to Survive a Hen Party), Corberó’s latest starring turn is as the lead character in Money Heist.
Created by Álex Pina for the Spanish TV network Antena 3, Money Heist follows a team of criminals as they attempt to infiltrate the Royal Mint of Spain and pull off the biggest bank heist in history. Two seasons aired in Spain before the series was acquired in 2017 by Netflix, which will release a third season in 2019.
Corberó has a number of other projects in the works or recently released, including October’s El Árbol de la Sangre (The Tree of Blood), not to mention an active social-media presence with 6.2 million Instagram followers as of press time. It’s no wonder that acting, for her, means “feeling full of life, more alive than ever”.
While she counts Hollywood icons Audrey Hepburn and Rita Hayworth among her acting idols, Corberó finds it difficult to name a single favourite film. “I can’t choose between these: In the Mood for Love, Natural Born Killers, Avatar, León: The Professional and Wall-E,” she says. “I’ve just realised that they’re all love stories! How romantic!”
Over the course of her acting career, there’s one thing Corberó has learned above all: “That discipline, generosity and patience are as important as talent if you want to work in this field.”
Now that she’s established herself as an actress capable of excelling in a variety of genres, Corberó is also attracting the attention of international brands and was recently announced as the newest ambassador for Italian jewellery house Bulgari at a lavish event at the Bulgari Resort Dubai.
“Bulgari has a long association with the world of cinema. My favourite actress is Julianne Moore, and I remember the campaign she did clearly,” Corberó says. “That they should have asked me to become the new ambassador is like a dream, a wish come true. It’s an immense honour for me to become part of this family.”
Working with a jewellery brand is close to Corberó’s heart. “When I think about jewellery, I’m reminded of my childhood,” she says. “My grandmother loves jewellery and I used to have a fabulous time when she showed me her pieces. She would tell me the story of each one, and her eyes would shine with a different light, as if she were reliving every special memory.”
Corberó can still remember he first piece of jewellery she received, a set of pearl earrings from her grandmother: “She told me that the pearls were a gift from her first suitor when she was 14.”
In fact, the actress and fine jewellery seem to be a natural fit, given that Corberó finds herself most attracted by “radiant people and objects” and “sees beauty where there is light”. She also appreciates the “modern version of la dolce vita” that the Roman brand represents.
“Bulgari has been creating spectacular pieces of jewellery for many years, but it has also been able to adapt to the style of the times. And this is because since the start it has always been a brand with a strong personality,” she says. “I’m very much in favour of glamour being understood as character and attitude. Bulgari has its own style, and conveys great power. And I like the fact that women who wear its pieces can feel this way.”
When it comes to Corberó’s own style, one look at her Instagram feed and it’s clear she’s quite the chameleon. Her selfies are a mix of casual beach shots, high-fashion glamour and edgy street style. “I like letting myself be inspired by what appeals every day. My mood is not always the same, so my style can’t be either,” she says.
“What I do know is that I like comfortable clothes that are powerful. I like mixing styles, especially formal and informal. I love high heels, sweatshirts and transparency. As to accessories, they always help me finish off my look. I love hooped earrings, handbags and sunglasses.”
Corberó’s work with Bulgari saw the star return to the “incredible” and “inspirational” city of Rome to shoot a campaign with fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. It was her most memorable visit since a Netflix event that unveiled the second season and announced the third season of Money Heist.
“I felt like a star from another era travelling around the centre of Rome in that fabulous Rolls-Royce, waving at people and dying of laughter seeing Mario hidden behind the back seat,” she says of her shoot with Sorrenti.
“I always say that Rome is the most beautiful city I’ve seen. It’s bursting with art and life. People there have lots of energy and I relate strongly with them,” Corberó says. “Also, I’m mad about cacio e pepe, orecchia di elefante and tiramisu.”
When asked how her friends would describe her, Corberó reveals, “They tell me that I’m scatterbrained, a party lover, energetic and with a strong personality.” It’s a fitting description given that what she loves most about being an actress is meeting people, travelling, not having a routine and, finally, that moment when the director calls, “Action!”
The hard-working actress – whose guilty pleasure is very hot showers – dedicates much of her time to filming and housework, and makes the most of any down time between projects. “I hugely value spending a day at home doing absolutely nothing; I’m really good at it!” she says, laughing. “But if you catch me when I’m not filming, I love spending time with my friends, my family and my boyfriend. We watch films, dance, play board games…”
Corberó is also the first to laugh at herself, especially when looking at a photograph of her “pathetic expression” when she ventured into a wind tunnel for the first time. And she’s not afraid to show that side of her personality on screen or on social media.
“Everything has a good side and a bad side,” she says of being a celebrity in the Internet era. “For me the important thing is to only share as much as I’m comfortable with. Social networks are a wonderful platform to promote new projects and have a fun side. I use them for these two reasons, and enjoy it.”
And if it all becomes too much, Corberó remembers the words of advice she received from a fellow Spanish actress. “One day Rossy de Palma said something wonderful to me that has stayed in my memory forever: ‘Don’t believe all the bad things you hear, but neither all the good.’”