“Enjoy the journey, enjoy the bad because it’s lessons that prepare you for the good, pick yourself up when you fail because then you will be taller for when you succeed. Enjoy the process because that my friends is life. And the best time of your life is the life you are living right now.”
– Gina Rodriguez
Gina Rodriguez sparks any space she walks in. She exudes a rare quality for a young actress in Hollywood. She walks and talks with purpose, a mission bigger than herself. She’s fierce and hot in a sassy Puerto Rican kind of way and when you mix it with her French genes you just get a woman whose strength bedazzles you.
I have heard about her from a close friend of mine, a fellow actor captivated by her charisma and a recent speech she gave at a NALIP gala.
A few weeks later, we happen to run into each other at a launch party in Hollywood. I recognized her and approached her ready to get the subtle yet ever present egotistical aura of Hollywood actresses.
Boom! Instead I get, a breezy and amicable conversation and someone who could be my friend.
But there was one quality that seemed the most awakening: Once you walk away from Gina, you leave filled with inspiration.
Minutes away as I walked out of the party, I told one of my friends: Who can be better than her for our next ALEGRIA cover?
She is a Latina actress who radiates light, passion and who strives to inspire others, molding the perception of overrated beauty standards and changing the way Latinos are perceived in Hollywood.
My friend agreed. Gina Rodriguez: The perfect cover girl!
Not too long after that, We scheduled our photoshoot in Marina del Rey.
She arrived with a summery colorful long dress much like a gypsy, bringing the Puerto Rican sea she just recently visited with an smile.
She hugged the make up artist as she arrived: Are you the make up artist? – I am so happy to meet you.
Her warmth is contagious and yes, the way she can be so funny and blunt… and take you by surprise with her comments.
We had agreed that our photoshoot would show a glamorous and sexy Gina after checking her images on google and seeing that she was portrayed always as the funny, tough or more urban character.
“ You are going to change the way people view me. I am so excited. This is going to change my career.”
Of course, After the photos that as you can see Came out Espectaculares!
I had to find out a lot more about this Latina Star.
1. How has your bilingual and multicultural heritage influenced your work and your personal life?
Well,I believe being multicultural has given me perspective on how similar we all truly are. Living two cultures was a blessing, communicating in two languages allows me to reach, understand and be a part of more people’s lives. It’s truly a gift.
2. Why do you love acting?
I love to tell stories. I love to be a vessel for someone who wants to communicate a message, purpose or dream. Acting allows me to fly, to learn, to communicate my heart. Life is a journey full of growth and when I get the chance to grow and possibly help others grow I’m at my greatest peace.
3. How did your passion for the arts begin? Tell us about your salsa dancing days and NYU?
I started my artist life dancing salsa in Chicago at a very young age. It was because of dance that I gained confidence in the arts. I found my voice when I decided to go to NYU and get trained in acting. And ultimately through education I feel as though I’ve been prepared with a tool belt in this industry that can not be taken away from me. This is why I am also such an advocate for education, it’s the one thing no one can take away from you.
4. What are some of the most memorable experiences you lived during these times?
I was able to travel the country dancing salsa at a young age. I was able to see life outside of my little neighborhood in Chicago. See that I was capable of seeing the world and that nothing but myself could stop me. My favorite memory was my last World salsa congress before I left to NYU. It was in Puerto Rico and I was turning 18. I was dancing at the height of that career in my motherland with my family there to see me, no better birthday present.
5. As an artist, what message do you want to carry out and what is your biggest responsability as an artist?
Well, I believe you nailed it in the question, responsibility. I think artists today lack the knowledge of their responsibility that comes with the many blessings a career in the arts gives one. We forget that our every move and decisions can influence a generation, forget that, even just influencing one person’s life is a huge responsibility. So what do you make out of this opportunity is the question. I believe my purpose has always been to create more opportunities for others of all ethnicities. As a Latina, breaking barriers in stereotypes has always been a driving force in my decision making for my culture’s image. And as a woman, I desire to change social norms in regards to beauty. I believe there is a healthy lifestyle we can all be working towards and when it comes to the arts, promoting a drug free, healthy eating habits and strong character can be instrumental in the way our next generation treat themselves and the world.
6. Your biggest dreams…
Are coming true daily. But to dream big, work consistently in both TV and film. Use my platform to create organizations for education, health and the arts. Open a free clinic for my sister (who is a doctor) so she can live her dream and be the best role model I can be to my nieces and nephews.
7. A day in the life of Gina Rodriguez…
haha wouldn’t you guys like to know! Let’s put it this way, I do something that scares me at least once a day. Today, I will skydive. Tomorrow, who knows I may just be in another country.
8. What are your dog’s names and what have they taught you?
Ted is my eldest, Yorkie rescued from Bogota Colombia. Casper, a Maltese poodle, I rescued here in LA to be a companion to Ted while I’m away on shoots. They are my loves. They teach me things about myself and life all the time. But I believe the best lesson has been one in unconditional love and giving gracefully. To learn to love with nothing in exchange is ultimately I believe a beautiful and selfless life that I truly desire to live.
9. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Alegria for me is family, travel, loving and living life to the fullest. I am brought to Alegria when I see my niece learn something new, laugh at something I forgot was funny or remind me how insanely precious life is.
10. A book you love..
11. your favorite food…
12. The man who will change your life
My father and he already did. My soul mate I have yet to find but when I do, we will laugh, forgive, cry, travel and learn something new every day together.
13. What are the challenges of dating life as a sucessful Actress?
Well I’m attracted to strong men, artistic men and let’s be real those manly men. Being a strong woman, they are either in love with it or absolutely intimated. So eventually I’ll find my puzzle piece. And then, there’s the fear of someone’s intention with you as an actress which is a scary road to even think about, so I don’t or won’t. Haha
14. if you could change one thing in the world… that would be…
wow I feel like I’m up for miss universe. Equality. Ignorance amongst differences. Religion, to end “holy wars”, ironic. Poverty. Child labor/trafficking/slavery.
15. Something you can’t stand…
when blessings are taken for granted.
16. what advice can you give any artist who feels hopeless about their career or feel like giving up?
For one, hopelessness comes from not being productive. So, if you feel hopeless it’s because you don’t have a goal you are working towards. It’s not about the success it’s about the journey. If you are working hard, success will come and then what? You will want more. So enjoy the journey, enjoy the bad because it’s lessons that prepare you for the good, pick yourself up when you fail because then you will be taller for when you succeed. Enjoy the process because that my friends is life. And the best time of your life is the life you are living right now.