Camila Banus as Gabi Hernandez
|Days of Our Lives character|
|Portrayed by||Gabriela Rodriguez (2009–10)
Camila Banus (2010–14)
|First appearance||November 20, 2009|
|Last appearance||December 29, 2014|
|Created by||Dena Higley
|Introduced by||Ken Corday
|Classification||Former; regular (returning)|
Gabriella Josephina "Gabi" Hernandez (formerly Fallon) is a fictional character from the American soap opera Days of Our Lives. The role was introduced by the show's then head writers Dena Higley and Christopher Whitesell on November 20, 2009. Gabriela Rodriguez won the part after successfully auditioning. However, months into her portrayal, the decision was made to age Gabi. In July 2010, it was announced that Rodriguez was replaced by former One Life to Live actress Camila Banus. Banus had previously auditioned for the role but was turned down, and rejected her first offer to return before finally accepting. She first aired on October 4, 2010.
Originally described as a sweet, innocent and loving girl, a number of events since Gabi's arrival on the series have altered her personality. Both actresses have admitted to sharing similarities with Gabi. In 2012, the character experienced a huge personality shift, which would reveal her manipulative side that was called "crazy" and obsessive. Her storylines have included the death of her sister Arianna Hernandez (Lindsay Hartley), finding out that her first love was gay, and romances with Chad DiMera (Casey Jon Deidrick) and Nick Fallon (Blake Berris). Gabi is of Latin descent, and Banus has expressed her pride to represent the Hispanic community through her portrayal. Banus' portrayal of Gabi earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 2015.
Gabriela Rodriguez first appeared in the role of Gabi on November 20, 2009. Of auditioning, Rodriguez said "It was honestly so random. I had never auditioned for a soap opera before and I was like "wow this is different. I think I want to give it a try." She seemed like such a cool girl, I was like "hey let's go for it." [...] I ended up talking with the casting director for a while and she just kind of explained to me about the character [...] The next day I got called for a callback and that was that." Fellow Hispanic actress Camilla Banus had also auditioned. Banus stated "I went in and read for the role. It was actually a pretty long process. The first audition then the second audition, then I went in again to meet the casting director and the producer. They then said they wanted me for a screen test. I did the screen test and they ended up not choosing me. They ended up going with the other girl [Rodriguez]. They told me that they wanted to go a little bit younger for the part."
In July 2010, Soap Opera Digest reported that Rodriguez had been replaced by Banus. The news of Rodriguez' departure came straight after Lindsay Hartley, who played Gabi's on-screen sister Arianna Hernandez, was killed off. Jillian Bowe of Zap2it noted that Banus would play a "slightly older version of the role." Banus was previously best known for her role as Lola Montez on One Life to Live. Banus, who first aired as Gabi on October 4, 2010, said that the transition was "super easy" and she was welcomed onto the set with "lots of love".
Explaining her being hired by Days of our Lives, Banus said that two months after her initial audition she was again offered the role of Gabi by its casting director due to the character being aged, but rejected them because of other career projects. She recalled thinking "Days is over" again and "they were never going to call me again". Two months after this, Banus received a second call asking her to reconsider; she said "At that point I felt there was something there and that I HAD to do this, like it was something that was calling me and I said, ‘Yes.’" At the 2013 Emmy ceremony, Banus revealed that she would be departing from the series when her current contract expired. Her announcement followed the news that her costars Casey Deidrick and Chandler Massey were also leaving. On April 24, 2015, it was confirmed that Banus will be returning to Days of Our Lives to be part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations.
Characterization and family
Initially, Gabi was "sweet" and "innocent". During an interview with TV Source magazine, Rodriguez described Gabi as "very loving", and said "even though sometimes she can come off like loudmouth and just like I guess bratty, but she's not. She's a really good girl and has a really big heart. She loves her brother and sister and would do anything for them." Rodriguez said that she is sensitive, has a strong personality and shows her soft side with people she's "comfortable with", and believed these were all traits Gabi has. Banus feels that she is like Gabi in the sense that she's "very, very sassy", stating "When Gabi has that kind of fiery thing, that’s totally Camila. Gabi is very motherly and likes helping the people that she loves, which is very much like me as well." She said that Gabi is sensitive when people say things about her. Gabi has three siblings: Rafe (Galen Gering), Arianna (Lindsay Hartley) and Dario Hernandez (Francisco San Martin). Rodriguez said that although they get into "little bickering fights every once in a while", the siblings love each other. Banus said that compared to her three siblings, Gabi "is extremely independent, responsible and she has been on her own for a little bit", but noted that "She is a family girl and loves taking care of family." She enjoys working with Galen, having stated "I love working with him. I think he’s my favorite person to work with, because we just have that brother and sister relationship."
Banus loves playing the "evil bitch"-type character, and had that opportunity when Gabi underwent a personality change in 2012. About.com said that she was "the epitome of sweetness and light" but a rocky road led by finding out her first love Will Horton (Chandler Massey) was gay lead the character to undergo a "major personality switch".
Of Gabi's transformation from a "sweet girl" to doing terrible things, Banus said "things I think are going on in Gabi’s head that nobody gets to see". The actress who enjoys playing the "dark side of Gabi" credited Ariana's death as the reasoning for Gabi's life going downhill. The actress sent a message to fans, "I want to tell them to be patient with me. The girl they once knew will come back." The new Gabi was described as "obsessive and crazy" and also "manipulative" and "psycho", which received flack from fans. Banus confessed to seeing the backlash on social media websites including Twitter. She said "People say mean things, but it doesn’t really get to me at all. I’m used to it". She noted that her previous role, Lola Montez on One Life to Live, was worse, stating "When I was on One Life to Live I was worse than Gabi is right now. She was a bad girl. She popped holes in condoms. That’s pretty bad. She took acid. That’s pretty bad."
Relationship with Chad DiMera
While the role was still being portrayed by Rodriguez, Gabi had a brief romance with Chad DiMera (Casey Jon Deidrick). However, Chad left her for Mia McCormick (Taylor Spreitler). Rodriguez said that Gabi was still into him, but was "heartbroken because they really didn't have a chance at a real relationship. It was just kind of left like on the verge of something new and interesting. She was just starting to like him and she didn't know where it was going." She felt that the relationship had potential, as Gabi still "might have a little thing for him".
In January 2012, the romance was re-visited in a storyline which Deidrick felt that the writers dropped their brief past, and "You'd never know that happened if you were tuning into Days for the first time now." Gabi and Chad became "superstar models" as the new faces of Countess Wilhelmina Cosmetics. This included a "steamy ad campaign", which Banus described as them having "no clothes and they're dripping wet. It's pretty intense." However, Chad was in a committed relationship with Melanie Jonas (Molly Burnett) at the time. On-Air On-Soaps wrote: "So will this be a case of fatal attraction? If so, Melanie better watch out, given that we have seen Banus play man-crazy when she went off the rails as One Life to Live 's Lola Montez." Banus felt that it wasn't love, but an infatuation, "[Gabi] is obsessed with having the ideal boyfriend because she has never had an ideal boyfriend. The person she thought was the ideal boyfriend turned out to be gay." She also noted during an interview with TV Guide that "Gabi is attracted to Chad and she sees this modeling thing as a way to be near him." Everyone at the photoshoot felt that they made a good couple, while Deidrick said "Meanwhile, Chad's like, "Huh? What?" He's clueless." Banus called her attraction to Chad a "rebound" from Will; Deidrick said "He's oblivious to her feelings, which is hard because Camila is such a beautiful woman." Gabi was shocked to find out that Chad was dating Melanie when she showed up to the photoshoot and shared a kiss with Chad.
Banus said that Gabi: "sees Chad with Melanie and realizes she is not the girl for Chad. Gabi is the girl for Chad. So she focuses all her time and devotes her energy to making sure that is clear to him. At the point where they are at, I think she would do a lot to get that, and that is where she is at right now." However, she noted that "Melanie, deep down, is really her friend. And honestly, she really does care about Melanie a whole lot and never wants to see her get hurt. Gabi knew Melanie being kidnapped by her stalker, Andrew but didn't do anything because Andrew blackmailed her. Chad discovered this and has since had a bitter vendetta against Gabi, despising her.
Relationship with Will Horton
Following Arianna's tragic death, Gabi leaned on her sister-in-law Sami Brady's (Alison Sweeney) son, Will Horton (Chandler Massey) for support. Of a possible Will and Gabi pairing, Rodriguez said "I think that would be so perfect. They're so compatible. They're just very good people. I think that would be fun, and I think the audience would like that." Both virgins, the couple had sex. However, Will soon lost all interest in sleeping with her again which was unsettling to Gabi. Banus said "To be completely denied by him in this way is definitely going to make her feel like something is wrong with her." She also stated "Gabi loves Will. Before they were ever boyfriend and girlfriend, they were best friends, who were there for each other." It was then announced by Days of our Lives that Will would come out as gay. Banus looked forward to playing the "fallout", and said "For me there are so many questions [...] How is Gabi going to react? Is she going to turn to somebody [else]? Is she going to break up with Will? Is he going to go behind her back? So many things could happen that could affect Gabi, her brother, Sami ... It's going to be an amazing storyline." Previewing Gabi's reaction, the actress said: "I feel like when it happens she is going to understand what it was. She is going to go through all those occasions where she felt something weird between them and know what it was. Obviously she will feel hurt because she's invested a lot." The couple eventually parted ways.
Banus said that Gabi knew things weren't "completely 100 percent" during their relationship despite the fact that she loves and cares for him. She explained that "when they do break up and he comes out to her, she always honestly feels like everything is her fault. And she blames herself for a lot of things." Chandler said "Will loves her as well. There is just no sexual/physical attraction." Prior, viewers picked up on the fact that Will's lack of physical connection with her became one of Gabi's "minor obsessions". Banus joked that his affection was "all she wants". Chandler noted that "There's no doubt Will loves Gabi [...] It's just not in the 'let's get freaky' way". Additionally, the actor felt that the show "didn't drop the dynamic" of the couple after he came out, but it became "more powerful".
Nick Fallon and pregnancy
In August 2012, Will and Gabi both ended up having "a bad week" and have sex, despite him previously announcing he was gay. Nothing developed from this. Following her ordeal with Will, Banus said "Gabi needs a man. It’s really important. If she doesn’t get a man soon, she’s going to go ballistic. It needs to be somebody that she doesn’t choose, but they choose her." It was announced that Blake Berris would return as former "braniac" Nick Fallon who was just let out of prison. Banus said that if he was paired with Gabi, they could be "crazy together". Nick and Gabi eventually inched closer and quickly began a romance in October 2012. During an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Banus explained their relationship: "Since both Gabi and Nick were in such dark places in their lives, they don't trust what is happening to them... There's a part of them that feels, I'm not good enough to have this happen." Berris said: "Camila is very funny, and I'm not sure she gets to play that often on screen." Additionally, Berris said of the pairing: "I love Camila. She’s awesome, and Nick and Gabi are an interesting pairing. Both characters have gone through so much. I like how slowly they built [the relationship]. Nick was almost freaked out about what would happen to him, if he got involved with somebody."
That November, Gabi received shocking news that she was pregnant. Janet Di Lauro of About.com said "Let's face it. It's a move viewers saw coming, after a down-and-out Gabi shared a night of passion with her gay ex, Will." Gabi nearly had an abortion but decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. Despite Will being the unborn baby's biological father, Gabi and Nick convinced Will to let them raise the baby as their own. He agreed, and they have begun planning their wedding. The wedding didn't happen since Will revealed he's the father of Gabi's baby. She and Nick get married in March 2013 and she gave birth to her daughter, Arianna Grace Horton in May 2013.
When Nick plots to remove Will from Arianna's life and become her primary guardian, Gabi and Nick have a physical altercation in which Gabi strikes him with a rock to keep him from raping her, "killing" him (or so she believes). Sami and Kate help Gabi dumb him in the river in which he wakes up before believing he drowned. However, he returns continues to blackmail Gabi until the character was killed in a whodunit murder mystery.
Rafe and Arianna felt that they were being stalked while at the Brady pub, but were shocked to find out that Gabi had come to Salem and was spying on them. Initially for her winter break, Gabi decided to permanently move to Salem, and moved into a vacant room at the Brady Pub. Arianna and Gabi briefly argued but eventually bonded. She befriended other local teens including Chad Peterson-Woods (later revealed to be Chad DiMera). They briefly dated, but he left her for Mia. Saddened by the break-up, Gabi focused herself fully on school. She befriended Will Horton who attended the Salem High formal as her date. Arianna was killed in a hit-and-run accident. She leaned on Will for support and they shared their first kiss. The couple's romance deepened as they were there for one another during mutual times of crisis. They slept together, but Gabi noticed that Will didn't want to sleep with her again. He later came out as gay, and they split up.
Gabi earned a job at Quinn Hudson's (Bren Foster) Intensity Day Spa and developed another crush on Chad, and began scheming to break him and his girlfriend Melanie Jonas (Molly Burnett) up. To make Chad worry over her, she pretended to have a stalker, writing fake threatening notes. Chad had Gabi move in with him. So further keep up with her lie, she hired a guy named Andrew to pose as her stalker. Eventually, Andrew's actions became too much and Gabi told him to stop. He ended up kidnapping Melanie, to Gabi's knowledge. Andrew blackmailed Gabi into not telling anybody about Melanie. The truth was eventually revealed, and Chad hated Gabi for it.
Feeling down, she ended up having a one night stand with Will, but agreed that it was a mistake. Chad consistently reminded Gabi that she would continue to pay for what she did. She then began a relationship with Nick, who was released from jail after serving time because he kidnapped Melanie. Nick reassured everyone he was a changed man. Chad assaulted Nick, who promised not to press charges if Chad dropped his threats towards Gabi, which he did. Gabi and Nick began planning their happy future, but she realized that she was pregnant with Will's child. Eventually, Gabi, Nick and Will decided that they would pretend that Nick is the father, and Gabi and Nick decided to get married. But when Gabi accidentally let it slip that she is further along than she originally said, Nick covered for her, saying that the two had a one night stand the day they met. Despite there being some anger at this, everyone has accepted the duo as a couple, except for Chad, who wants Gabi to pay for her misdeeds. Chad told Sonny Kiriakis, Will's boyfriend, about Gabi's role in Melanie's kidnapping. Ever since, Sonny has cut all his ties to Gabi and warned Will to avoid her.
On May 20, 2013, Gabi gave birth to a daughter, Arianna Grace Horton, after Gabi's sister and Rafe's deceased goddaughter. Nick finally tells Gabi about what happened to him in prison, and what he did to Will. Gabi moves in with Will, Sonny and baby Arianna and her marriage to Nick is annulled. Despite being divorced, Nick continued to be obsessed with Gabi. When Gabi refused his advances, he tried to rape her. Gabi took a rock and bashed Nick on the head. Sami and Kate arrived and help Gabi throw Nick's body in the water. Nick briefly woke up before sinking into the water, and Gabi was haunted by the fact that they had let him die.
On the day of Arianna's christening, Nick showed up at the ceremony alive, and lied about the events that happened that night. Nick wanted to reconcile with Gabi and slowly spent time with her and Arianna. He tried to get Gabi to take Arianna away from Will, but was eventually shot and killed with Gabi revealed to be the shooter. Gabi explained that she was scared of Nick's influence over her and felt she had to kill him to stop him from being a threat to Arianna. She also admitted her role in Melanie's kidnapping and told Marlena about her, Kate and Sami throwing Nick in the river. EJ, who served as Gabi's lawyer, thought it would be better for her to have a plea deal than go to trial and have the truth about Melanie's kidnapping come out. Gabi accepted the plea deal and got ten to twenty years in prison.
Gabi is visited by Rafe and later on by Will, Sonny and Arianna for the holidays. She gets another visitor but it's Melanie instead of the expect Will and Sonny on December 29. Melanie would forgive Gabi for what she did and said that she would visit.
Janet Di Lauro of About.com said that the character is crazy and "naughty". Of being the only Hispanic during her time on Days of Our Lives, Banus stated in 2012: "I’m definitely grateful. I’m proud be a Latina, and I’m really proud to represent for all the Latinas out there; especially the young Latina women. It’s important for them to have a role. I feel really empowered to be the young Latina on the show, and I have no problem carrying all of the responsibility on my back." Banus' portrayal of Gabi earned her a nomination for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series at the 42nd Daytime Emmy Awards in 2015.
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