After a successful performance in the indie film Filly Brown, Gina Rodriguez was determined to take Hollywood by storm. Her starring role in the CW’s Golden Globe nominated series Jane The Virgin, did just that. Her innocent yet feisty character captured America’s heart. It goes without saying, she’s now a household name.
She’s currently working on a film with Mark Wahlberg and getting ready for the second season of Jane The Virgin. Variety Latino spoke with Gina about her new movie Deepwater Horizon, her role models and her obsession with boxing.
How did winning a Golden Globe change your life?
It’s pretty freaking awesome and super. There are no words. There’s that feeling of gratitude, love, [feeling] blessed and being freaking stoked about everything. Now, I’m doing a movie in New Orleans. It’s outrageous! I’m boxing everyday. It’s so fulfilling. This is what I had dreamt of 15 years ago when I was a teenager. It’s wild.
Tell us about your character in Deepwater Horizon.
In Deepwater Horizon, I play a Latina from San Diego. I feel very honored to play her. The story centers on a devastating explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Working with Peter Berg has been outstanding, he is somebody I’ve always desired to work with. He is a genius, hands down. He teaches you to let go and just jump into your role while he provides the parachute. And I am having a blast working with so many male actors, Kurt Russell, Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich and Dylan O’Brian.
What do you look for in a role and how do you decide if it’s the right fit for you?
I really feel like the stories you were meant to tell you will tell and they will be part of your experience and your journey. I feel like ever since I committed to the kind of art I wanted to do and the kind of change I wanted to create, I feel very blessed that those stories have been coming into my view.
Is there competition among other Latina actresses?
I’ve never been very competitive. I’m very proud of all the Latinas in my age range. We ultimately go out for the same roles. Natalie Martinez, Genesis Rodriguez, I love those girls! Melanie Diaz, I love her and I think we all have a different story we can tell and there is room for all of us.
Besides acting, have you ever thought about directing?
I definitely want to executive produce a television show next year and a film. I want to share my blessings and find other Latinos to give them the kind of opportunities that were given to me. It’s about finding stories that haven’t been told yet and need a broad perspective.
Jane The Virgin got renewed for a second season. What can fans expect next?
Jennie Snyder Urman, [the creator of the show] doesn’t tell us anything! For the first season we weren’t given the script until the first day of filming.
It’s a journey of cultures and acceptance, love and hilarity and craziness. I can’t image what Jennie’s brilliant mind has for the second season. Jennie was made to tell this story! She’s telling a woman’s story, a woman’s experience and [a story about] a woman that has her first ever baby and has challenges and is fearless and strong. I think we will see more of Jane’s strengths and her journey into motherhood, which will be even more challenging and still, allow for funny moments.
How would you react if you got an Emmy nomination?
I would probably faint or fall down…or start dancing salsa. Music would somehow appear in my life and I would start dancing. It would be pretty fantastic! To be honest, it’d be so huge! But it’s very difficult for freshman shows to get nominated so I’m being very gracious and grateful for all the awesome Emmy consideration. The critics have given us so much love and confidence. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow in this show and I’m excited for the second season and how I’m going to push myself and how they are going to push me.
Who are your role models?
I really admire Eva Longoria. I love that she has been able to maneuver through charity work, acting, directing, and executing producing. I think that she’s going to continue to tell more stories and continue to learn and grow as a human being.
Rita Moreno, she proved that not only women can get an EGOT but also she’s a winner of life. The woman is down-to-earth! She is there and present and alive. To me that is what matters. I absolutely love that woman!
Meryl Streep, I am blown away by her ability to transform as an actress. She just thrives. Kenny Ortega, I admire him so much and admire what he is doing on Broadway. I can go on and on, Salma Hayek, get it girl! I’ve admired America Ferrera since I was 17. I’m a big fan of what people are doing, not just in the world of acting but also in philanthropy, in entrepreneurship and I get inspired. I am determined to not take “no” for an answer and that anything is possible.
What’s your next big dream?
This is crazy, but I think I want to try out for the Olympics in boxing. How crazy would that be? Like, why not? I box everyday, I come from a boxing family and I think I can get faster and stronger. Why not? Anything is possible!