Fashion can be intimidating for some, but for Gina Rodriguez it was downright scary. The Jane The Virgin star sat down with us last week to talk overcoming her sartorial fears and finding her place in the world of celebrity style at an event for her Make Happy partnership with Kipling, an initiative encouraging others to pay it forward with acts of kindness.
Glamour: How would you describe your style? Has it changed since Jane the Virgin took off?
Gina Rodriguez: I’m really learning about my fashion because I grew up as a tomboy. Big-time. [I grew up] with a mother who didn’t really wear makeup and didn’t really put an emphasis on wearing labels or anything like that. [She’d say that] if you feel beautiful inside, then it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what makeup you have on, because your beauty is going to shine through. If you asked anybody who knew me in college, they’d be like, ‘yeah, she doesn’t care, she’ll throw on a T-shirt and keep it moving’. So now I do like my dresses, but I love my leather jacket and boots.
Glamour: So we’re guessing that you and Jane probably wouldn’t really share a closet…
G.R.: The one thing I do love about Jane’s style is that she wears those beautiful A-line dresses that are super complementary. She’s very feminine. I’m probably not as feminine—or as naturally as feminine—as she is.
Glamour: Has turning 30 changed your perspective on style?
G.R.: I’m becoming more adventurous. I’m becoming more comfortable in my skin and what flatters my body type and what accentuates certain parts of my body. [Turning 30] has kind of has allowed me to accept my natural self even more.
Glamour: That’s a powerful statement.
G.R.: I’m learning and I’m not afraid to say that I’m discovering myself and discovering what I like and have an opinion. That’s huge for me. Now I find [fashion] fun and nothing to be afraid of. Before, I was afraid of it and I didn’t know how to do it myself, so I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t care, I don’t care’. I’m fine the way I am. Which is true, I am. I feel beautiful in my skin and joggers and a T-shirt. But now, I find it fun and I find it exciting to change and transform and enhance and become somebody else because of the amazing team I have around me. Fashion is about treating yourself well and being your own hero in your story.
Glamour: Well, you were quite a hero at the Golden Globes. The first Latina to win a Best Actress Golden Globe—and in that fabulous Badgley Mischka dress, no less! Do you still have that dress?
G.R.: [Badgely Mischka designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka] were so sweet and they gave it to me. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it. I have it saved. My mom’s saving it kind of the way she’s saving my sister’s wedding gown. I’m saving it for the opportunity to give it to another girl. I just know it’s going to happen. There’s gonna be a girl and I’m gonna be like, ‘you’re just going to need to have this dress’. Everyone is asking how I’m going to know who it gonna be. I just feel like, I’ll know, I feel like God’s like going be, like, it’s time to pass this on. So I’m excited to see when that opportunity happens.
Glamour: What designers are you into?
G.R.: BCBG, for sure. No one else would want to dress little old me [years ago] and they dressed me from the beginning. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. That has always held a place in my heart. They’ve literally been dressing me for three and a half years. And when I say before anybody would, I’m dead serious—before anybody would. I also love a designer named Vivian Chan. She does all these delicate, regal, clean things.
Glamour: There was also that gorgeous rose Gutavo Cadile gown you wore to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last month.
G.R.: I love to wear Latino designers. He was like, ‘I’m going to make your wedding gown’ and I said that I have to get engaged first! [Rodriguez has been dating actor Henri Esteve for a year]. And I got time for that!
Glamour: Speaking of weddings, the season finale is coming up in a couple of weeks. If Jane got married, what would she wear?
G.R.: It’s interesting because on [an earlier] episode we had her wearing a dress, because she was going to marry [Michael] and we were going to do, like, a shock wedding and speed it up really quickly. But she didn’t end up getting married.
The dress that she wore in the show, however, is very much her style. It’s princess, A-line, probably what is it called… [voice in background: “Sweetheart”] yeah, like the sweetheart with the hearts by the boobies (as you can tell I’m definitely still learning fashion). I feel like that’s so in line with how Jane would be.
Glamour: Would she wear a different dress if she married Michael or Rafael?
G.R.: “I don’t think Jane has the personality to change dresses between Michael and Rafael. She would always dress the way that made her feel special, beautiful, respectful, and classy. That’s just so the character’s personality and the way Jennie [Snyder Urman, executive producer] wrote her. To be a woman of authenticity and honesty. Someone that wouldn’t have to transform for anyone else, but she’s hoping to be loved for who she is. So I don’t think she would change dresses very much.
I think that her transformation over her journey [will be interesting], because she got pregnant and is going to be a mother in season two. I think that her whole idea of a wedding would totally change. It would be more about her child and the betterment of her family. So I feel like it wouldn’t matter almost. She could wear anything flowy and white and she’d be happy, because her desire for a family is so great. Her desire to bring up her child with a mother and a father is so important to her now, that a wedding would kind of take a backseat. She’d be more [focused on] ‘what’s the best for my child and whatever I’m wearing I’m going to be happy’.
Well said, Gina. Oh, and in case you were wondering, after we spoke to her at the event, Gina paid her good fortune forward to three college students and surprised them with new Kipling bags. They were very, very, happy, she gladly reported.