Gina Rodriguez has one Golden Globe for Jane The Virgin, from 2015, she won for best actress the first year she was nominated, she was nominated this year and she was just nominated for 2017 this week. She continues to be recognized for her work and she’s made it part of her platform to promote other minority artists and performers. Due to that, it’s not surprising to hear her say that she turns down roles which are just Latina stereotypes, but is a reminder to people like me, white people on the outside of Hollywood looking in, that this happens more frequently than we might imagine. Gina discussed this in her January cover interview with Marie Claire. (Sidenote that does not look like her on the cover does it? I wish magazines would do this.) She’s also set to host Marie Claire Young Women’s Honors, which air December 19th.
>On knowing she wanted to act and getting her start: “My path wasn’t laid out for me in my family or my culture, because there are so few of us in the industry. That’s how my whole career happened. Your eyes are open; you don’t know what the next answer is going to be, but you’re open. And you take every opportunity that comes your way.”
On turning down roles that perpetuated stereotypes: “I decided I was going to take roles that progressed the image of Latinos in the industry, and I was going to choose those roles over money. I wanted to make sure I was contributing positively and not allowing limitations to dampen my experiences and my journey.”
On loving herself: “I’m currently working on accepting love. I’m constantly working on the part of myself that doesn’t feel like ‘enough.’ This relationship has been possible because, for the past six months, I have vowed to work on loving myself. I want to know that I don’t need another to be full. So that whenever another person, an endorsement, or a project comes into play, they are an addition, not filling a need for value or fulfillment or worth or love. Because if I do that, I will forever be hungry.”
On pursuing her dreams: “When I was 15 years old and the opportunities I have now didn’t seem so accessible, I still knew that I was capable of going after anything I wanted—whether or not I accomplished my goal. The only thing that can stop you is you. And how powerful is that? You are going to fail, but hopefully you have the opportunity to fail big. How great is it that I am given the chance to fail miserably? How awful would it be if I sat by, never touching the opportunity, never taking the chance? I want to eat life. I want to try.”
Whenever I hear about lack of diversity in Hollywood and particularly in casting, I think of Aziz Ansari’s take on this in Master of None, which is based on his own experiences as an Indian American guy looking for roles. (It’s the Indians on TV episode and they’re all standalone so you can start there with the series if you want.) Many roles are whitewashed and aren’t even available to minority actors and when they are they can require a hokey accent and/or be blatantly offensive. It’s not something you consider as a non-actor or a white person but imagine finally getting a job and being asked to portray someone who represents the worst stereotypes about your culture. I like that Rodriguez is so outspoken about this and that she’s so successful, visible and outspoken. She was excellent in Deepwater Horizon (really enjoyed that film) and that’s an example of a role where the person’s ethnicity is just a part of who they are and not the entire basis of their character. I want more of that for her and it looks like it’s coming.
photos credit Jan Welters for Marie Claire and Getty Images