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Cote de Pablo is best known for playing Special Agent Ziva David: the former Mossad Officer turned integral member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. Though de Pablo departed NCIS to explore outside opportunities — later starring in The 33 and The Dovekeepersshe returned to har career-catalyzing role at the end of season 16.  

Cote de Pablo of NCIS
Cote de Pablo of ‘NCIA’ | by Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images

NCIS created the actor’s most famous character, and the show placed de Pablo in the spotlight. It was essential to de Pablo that she forge a deep connection with her viewers, and Ziva was one way to get to fans’ hearts. Ziva was a strong and independent woman (with a complex background) who proved inspirational to many viewers. 

During an interview with Prevention Magazine, de Pablo explained why performing became even more important to her when she moved to the United States from Santiago, Chile. 

Cote de Pablo on connecting with others through the dramatic arts 

De Pablo told Prevention Magazine that she had been interested in the arts since a young age, going on to attend a high school for students interested in pursuing the performing arts. However, her perception surrounding its importance changed alongside her move to America. She said: 

I missed my country and my friends terribly. But I was raised here. And I found my niche because I went to a performing arts high school. I had always been interested in the arts, but performing became even more important because it was a way to communicate with people in my new country. 

Cote de Pablo | Prevention 

The ‘NCIS’ star talks about learning English and finding her tribe 

De Pablo explained that acting opened up a new door to interact with new people, in a new country, far away from home. She continued: 

It wasn’t till I got to the United States that I learned to speak English. My friend had the perfect saying for it: “You found your tribe.” We’re not Chilean or Argentinean or Brazilian or Russian. We’re actors.

Cote de Pablo | Prevention Magazine

Cote de Pablo Gave Mark Harmon the Credit He Won’t Take for ‘NCIS’ Success

De Pablo realized that there was an invisible but prevalent thread connecting her to like-minded individuals. It didn’t matter where they were from or what language they spoke. It mattered that they were all actors. They all possessed that same drive to perform — to communicate something to an audience. To use art to reflect humanity. When de Pablo realized that, she realized that she found her true “tribe.”