August 11, 2022

Alba Flores

Netflix/Tamara Arranz Ramos

  • Season 4 of La Casa de Papel, a.k.a. Money Heist, hits Netflix on April 3.
  • Fans are on the edge of their seats after season 3’s ending, which left us with a major cliffhanger about a fan-favorite character, Nairobi. But who is the actress who plays her?
  • Ahead, meet Alba Flores, who opens up exclusively to OprahMag.com about how creator Álex Pina created the role of Nairobi, especially for her. And as always: Beware of spoilers ahead.

La Casa de Papel, a.k.a. Money Heist, broke records last year when it became Netflix’s most-watched non-English series. Three seasons have led viewers like me to become more and more attached to each character in the story of a gang of robbers who rebel against their government by pulling off intricate, high-level bank heists. If you ask any fan who their favorite character is, they will all likely have impassioned responses, from the nerdy teddy bear that is the crew’s leader, El Profesor, to the eccentric yet lovable Berlin.

About Flores
Flores (Indonesian: Pulau Flores) is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the eastern half of Indonesia. The population was 1,931,000 in the 2010 census and the largest town is Maumere. The name Flores is derived from the Portuguese for “flowers”.
Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo islands and west of Lembata island and the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba Strait, is Sumba island and to the north, beyond the Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.
Among all islands containing Indonesian territory, Flores is the 10th most populous after Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi, New Guinea, Bali, Madura, Lombok, and Timor and also the 10th biggest island of Indonesia.

Alba Flores Reveals <i>La Casa de Papel</i>’s Creator Wrote …

About Reveals
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But there’s no question that there’s a particularly rabid fan group behind one specific character: Nairobi. Even Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny recently crooned about the single mom-turned-bank heister in his hit single, “Perreo Sola,” with a lyric—loosely translated from Spanish—about wanting a “bad girl” like Nairobi.

In a cast portraying misfits who are quick to draw their guns on each other amidst temper tantrums, it’s actress Alba Flores who brings to life the character who is the heart of this squad—and the only truly cool-headed person of the group. And that’s exactly what made season 3’s cliffhanger ending all the more stressful as we waited for months for season 4 to learn: Is Nairobi still alive?

Alba Flores Reveals <i>La Casa de Papel</i>’s Creator Wrote …

In an interview at Netflix’s headquarters in Madrid, Spain last fall, Flores was coy with me about season 4 details, of course. But she did say: “If you’re going to watch it, keep your tissues close to you. This season is tough—tougher than you think it will be at the beginning.”

“HE SAID,’IF YOU LIKE IT, I CAN WRITE A ROLE FOR YOU.’ AND THAT’S HOW NAIROBI WAS BORN.”

The Madrid native shared a surprising tidbit with me: In the original script of La Casa de Papel, there actually wasn’t a Nairobi. I know, I know. It’s hard to imagine the Money Heist cast without sweet, motivational Nairobi, but Flores explains that after working together on another Netflix hit, Vis a Vis, Álex Pina, creator of La Casa de Papel, offered to write a role for her for his new show.

“They were writing the script for La Casa de Papel, and they realized that there was just one female character, Tokio. And they thought, ‘This is not going to work,’” Flores said. “So he called me and asked if I wanted to come be on his new TV show and offered to send me the script for the first two episodes. He said, ‘If you like it, I can write a role for you.’ And that’s how Nairobi was born.”

Money Heist has since become an international smash hit, and Flores admits she’s still adjusting to exactly howum, dedicated viewers are.

“We have fans around the entire world, from Spain to the U.S. to Thailand. There are people that have tattooed my face on their body!” she told me. “I was recently in the street and a teenage girl came to me and said, ‘Please take a picture with me…I’m so excited that I’m going to get your face tattooed on my arm.’ I said, ‘Think about it for a few days, please! Not even my mother is going to do that!’ So somewhere, this girl has Nairobi’s face on her arm forever.”

But fame isn’t new to the actress—who was born into a family well-known in Madrid—and La Casa de Papel is far from her first foray into TV and movies. Ahead, a few more fun facts about Alba Flores to read up on after you binge-watch Money Heist.


Where is Alba Flores from?

Given her character’s name on Money Heist and her portrayal of a Romani woman on Vis a Vis, many fans often wonder about Flores’s nationality in real life. The actress was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, the daughter Antonio Flores, a noted composer and musician with Romani roots. And her grandmother, Lola Flores, was a renowned flamenco singer and dancer nicknamed “La Faraona,” known for her over-the-top on-stage persona.


What other movies or TV shows can I watch her in?

Even before La Casa de Papel, Flores depicted another fan favorite character: Saray Vargas de Jesús, a Romani woman facing a five-year prison sentence in the series Vis a Vis, or Locked Up, another Netflix hit. Before then, she portrayed a Moroccan servant in the local Spanish drama series El tiempo entre costuras, as well as the police drama Cuéntame, before joining the cast of Vis a Vis in 2015.


Does Alba Flores have a partner?

From her social media, it’s clear the actress keeps her private life just that—private—so we don’t know much about her relationship status. But while she admitted in our interview that she’s a bit of a “workaholic,” she did share that in her personal life, she likes to find time for yoga and small theater projects with friends.


Where can I find Alba Flores on Instagram?

To stay up-to-date with Alba’s latest projects and small glimpses into her life, you can follow her here:

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