Gina is gracing the cover of the summer issue of Glam Belleza Latina. The cover and outtakes from the photoshoot have been added to our gallery.
Last summer I was invited to dinner with Gina Rodriguez and the mostly Latino cast of Jane the Virgin, the comedy-drama that was set to air on the CW network later that fall. At the time I knew only that the show was inspired by a Venezuelan telenovela, Juana la Virgen, and that its lead, Rodriguez, was the much-buzzed-about actress from the Sundance Film Festival indie hit Filly Brown. A few hours and many laughs later, I knew we’d be hearing more from this off-the-charts-charismatic star.
And boy, have we. Jane the Virgin, with Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a virgin who gets mistakenly inseminated and impregnated at the doctor’s office, is returning for a second season. The show has also been picked up by multiple foreign markets, won the People’s Choice Award for favorite new TV comedy, and earned Rodriguez a Golden Globe win for best actress in a TV series, musical, or comedy. She is only the fourth Latina to win an acting Globe since the awards’ inception, in 1944. The Puerto Rican beauty’s joyful acceptance speech was the highlight of the show that night, with the loving shout-out to her father running on an endless loop on social channels that evening and the morning after. “My father used to tell me to wake up each day and say, ‘Today is going to be a great day; I can and I will,’ ” she said. “Well, Dad, today’s a great day; I can and I did.”
For Rodriguez, 30, this moment was years in the making. Born and raised in Chicago, by parents who moved from Puerto Rico, the actress got her first taste of the spotlight by dancing salsa professionally all through high school. After convincing her parents to let her pursue acting, she enrolled at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Her career started slowly but surely, with her booking her first leading role in the film Tiny Dancer right after graduation. A bevy of guest spots (Army Wives, Law & Order) led to Filly Brown in 2012, and Rodriguez’s portrayal of a struggling rapper earned her much critical praise. Soon after, she landed the prime role as Jane the Virgin.
I couldn’t wait to catch up with Rodriguez over breakfast in New York City this spring. We were dishing before she’d hit the chair, discussing everything from our favorite salsa singers to her standing as the unofficial spokeswoman for Latino representation on TV.
Vamos, let’s chat!
GBL: When you and I first met last summer, Jane the Virgin hadn’t aired yet, but the buzz was quickly building. Fast-forward a few months: Not only is the show a tremendous hit but you’ve also won a Golden Globe. Did you ever imagine all of this?
GR: I never could’ve guessed that we would come this far this quickly. And across the world too! I was recently in China, and a guy stopped me on the street and said, “You’re Jane the Virgin!” And my boyfriend was like, “That 40-year-old Asian dude did not just stop you!” [Laughs.]
GBL: Your acceptance speech was a highlight of the night. I jumped off my couch to cheer for you! Is your head still spinning over it?
GR: I was so scared—I didn’t have anything written! Actually, my father spoke through me in that moment. He always told me that in order for things to happen you have to believe they can. And that is the truth.