‘Days of Our Lives’ Star Camila Banus Exits After 13 Years: ‘I’m Just Ready for Something Different’ (Exclusive)

The Daytime Emmy nominee’s last shoot day as Gabi Hernandez was April 28

Camila Banus, the Emmy-nominated actress who has played Gabi Hernandez on “Days of Our Lives” for 13 years, has decided to leave the Peacock soap to “start the next chapter” of her life, she tells TheWrap exclusively.

Her last shoot day was April 28, but her last airdate is many, many months down the line.

“There’s definitely been a lot of changes at ‘Days’ the last couple of years, one being moving to Peacock. Although it’s been wonderful and we’ve had a super great reception, for me, I felt like that was kind of like the initial start for changes happening in general. And I kind of just saw that as a sign for me to start the next chapter in my life,” she said.

That chapter includes having a baby with her partner of over a decade and husband of less than two years, Marlon Aquino. “My husband and I are trying to start a family, hopefully,” she said. “And that’s another big factor in possibly just slowing down for a little bit and seeing kind of where this time takes me. But I’m also open to other opportunities and ready for big things. I’m just ready for something different.”

Banus has played Gabi for 13 years, which is a long time by any Hollywood standard, but even more so because she’s only 32.

“That’s an enormous amount of time, especially in this industry where it’s such an inconsistent employment process that I call it the 99% unemployment industry for everyone,” she laughed. “You know, you book something and you never know what’s up ahead or what may be the future for that project. So I’ve been very blessed and very lucky to have been representing Latinas and Latinos as Gabi. And I’m just ready to see how I can represent further along in my career, you know, see what the next chapter of representing will be.”

Taking that leap of faith was a long time coming, and having that conversation with the powers that be at “Days” was “tough” and so bittersweet, she said.

A month before her contract was up with the show, producers messaged her, asking her what her terms were. “I was honestly open to renegotiating a certain type of shooting schedule where I would have a little bit more time off. But they didn’t go for it. And certain other factors that were involved that they didn’t go for. At first, it was just easy to say, ‘Well, if you can’t meet these demands, then I can’t,’ and move on with a new contract. But then, you know, I talked to producers and they had a call with me and they were like, ‘Well, what can we do?’ And I [said,] ‘I need to slow down. And part of that is you guys accepting this shooting schedule for me, and you won’t. So I have to respectfully bow out and say thank you.’ That’s all I can do.”

When her last work day came to an end and everyone said their goodbyes, Banus drove home crying her “eyes out.” “It’s just a really renewing and refreshing time for me. And,  I think a lot of great things are to come.” Among those big things she’s hoping for is a good role on the big screen.

“I’m ready for pretty much whatever comes my way,” Banus told TheWrap. “My biggest desire is to work on films. I’m a huge film buff, and I would love to work on big budget films wherever, whenever that is. I’m just excited for cultivating new characters and possibly working on something comedic. I do think that I need to stretch that out because I think there’s a lot of potential there for me. I feel like people are really receptive to my comedic timing and I think that would be wonderful. I’m just excited for this new horizon of whatever is to come because I just love characters. I love cultivating them. The most wonderful thing about acting is playing pretend every day. I love to do that, and I can’t wait to do that with a bunch of other people and make magic again.”

“Days” fans are among the loyalist soap fans out there. If given the chance to speak directly with them, Banus, would express her undying gratitude for their endless love and support.

“Gabi has definitely put fans through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the 13 years that she has wrecked havoc on Salem. And I just wanna say a huge thank you to everyone that has ridden that ride, been there through all the highs, been there through all the lows when my girl has not been someone you want to support,” Banus grins. “But there’s still been support. I wanna say a deep, deep thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that’s loved Gabi the way that I have.”