From Chilean Roots to Iconic Television: The Journey of Cote de Pablo

From Chilean Roots to Iconic Television: The Journey of Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo is a well-known Chilean-American actress, best known for her role as Special Agent Ziva David on the long-running CBS series NCIS. De Pablo joined the show at the beginning of its third season and played the character until the beginning of season 11, before returning for a short arc in 2019 to finish her character’s storyline. NCIS is currently airing its 18th season, making it one of the most enduring fictional live-action series on television.

De Pablo’s journey to becoming an actress was rooted in her strong passion for acting and music from a young age. She pursued the arts through school and beyond, slowly transforming into the actress people know and love today. Her portrayal of David, an Israeli ex-Mossad agent with a tough exterior, garnered critical acclaim and helped make NCIS the success it is today.

From Chilean Roots to Iconic Television: The Journey of Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo, born María José de Pablo Fernández in Santiago, Chile, moved to Miami, Florida with her family when her mother got a job at a Spanish-language television network. As a child, de Pablo loved music and entertainment, but her passion for the arts truly began when she attended an elective drama class in middle school. The class helped her improve her English speaking and pushed her to overcome social anxiety.

De Pablo continued to pursue her passion for acting at the New World School of the Arts and began working as a co-host for the Latin-American talk show Control at just 15 years old, alongside former Entertainment Tonight host Carlos Ponce. De Pablo’s early success helped pave the way for her later roles, including her most well-known as Special Agent Ziva David on the CBS series NCIS.

After college, Cote de Pablo relocated to New York City and started attending auditions. She worked as a waitress in an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and an Italian eatery in Brooklyn to pay the bills while trying to get acting jobs. Her hard work paid off when she started getting parts with the New York City Public Theater, and then landed her first screen appearance in All My Children.

De Pablo also had guest roles in several television series, including The $treet and The Education of Max Bickford, and a voice acting role in the video game ToCA Race Driver. While her passion for music still thrived, she played the role of Dolores Fuentes in the musical Mambo Kings, which was based on the novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos. She played the part of Fuentes through the musical’s trial run in San Francisco, but it never made it to Broadway. Despite some disappointments, de Pablo persevered and eventually landed her breakout role as Ziva David on the long-running CBS series NCIS.

Cote de Pablo’s character, Ziva David, on the hit television show NCIS, was originally meant to be European but was changed to Israeli, which made her a strong, complex Jewish woman. Despite not being Jewish herself, many Jewish fans found strength in de Pablo’s depiction of David. To make her character as authentic as possible, de Pablo put a lot of effort into learning how to read Hebrew lines realistically and studying the history of Jewish civilization and culture. De Pablo’s hard work paid off, as David became a fan-favorite character, and de Pablo won several awards for her acting on the show.

After eight seasons on NCIS, de Pablo left the show for unknown reasons. CBS claims they offered her a lot of money to stay, but there have been no further details. However, de Pablo returned to the show in season 17 for a five-episode arc, helping out Agent Gibbs and finishing up her character’s storyline. De Pablo’s portrayal of Ziva David continues to resonate with fans, and her dedication to making her character as authentic as possible has earned her a place in the hearts of many viewers.

Written by Tommy Kilmer

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