We have a new favorite actress and her name is Gina Rodríguez, star of the Sundance hit, Filly Brown. Rodríguez, who grew up in Chicago and is of Puerto Rican descent, is getting some indie buzz for her lead role in the movie. For us, she gets MAJOR PROPS for what she told Anthem Magazine about what it means to be Latina actor in Hollywood these days.
What does it mean to be a Latina actress in the film industry these days?
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a performer. I was captivated by cinema and television, but I remember thinking, “These people don’t look like me.” I never saw anyone who didn’t weigh 100 pounds or didn’t have blue eyes. I didn’t see myself onscreen. I just thought, “I guess we didn’t exist back then.” While watching stuff like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind andThe Sound of Music, I would ask my mom, “We didn’t exist then. When did Puerto Ricans come into play?” She was like, ‘What are you talking about, baby? We’ve always been around.’ And when I did start seeing our faces out there, it was always the pregnant teen, the hooker, the drunk girlfriend and the featured extra. I would love to be able to count the number of Latino actors with more than two hands. It doesn’t matter what the color of our skin is.
That’s a huge motivational force for you then. It’s about breaking stereotypes.
Yes! To be able to hit that platform where my voice is able to reach as many people as possible and putting a positive voice out there for Latinos. For young girls, I want them to know that they don’t have to starve themselves. You can look like a normal girl because it’s beautiful. You’ll be so beautiful on the inside that it’ll leak out onto the outside and people won’t be able to stop you. To be confident, motivated, strong, inspired and wanting to do good. My boyfriend and I are abstinent and that’s a very big part of our lives. There’s just more to life than, ‘Bang bang bang. Skeet skeet skeet.’ That’s something I want to project to the youth. It has been such a long journey fighting stereotypes. I’m not going to play the third chola to the left. I’m not doing it! If I have to pass on a day rate of $795, I’ll just have to miss out on that. I’ve been eating ramen noodles for the past 20 years of my life, so why not keep going? It has been very difficult, but I’ve gotten to a point where I’m seeing the doors open and I’m seeing the industry change. Now I just need to push it even harder. I have to break through that last screen door that Hollywood is afraid to break through.