If you’re kind of the worst when it comes to TV (like me), you’ve probably turned your nose up at the CW and its programming lineup. Sure, I was down to watch 90210 once upon a time, and I definitely messed with Gossip Girl, but once I was introduced to HBO, the CW seemed like it was for children. That was until I watched Jane the Virgin. Though I could aggressively promote Jane to you (ask my housemates, I tell everyone to watch it), it’s Gina Rodriguez I want to talk about.
I first learned about Gina Rodriguez and Jane the Virgin when I watched the 2015 Golden Globes where she took home the award for Best Actress in a Television Series (Musical or Comedy). Rodriguez was one of the few people I have ever seen accept an award with immense grace, humility, and genuine excitement (aka she did not study at the Taylor Swift School of Award Acceptance). So naturally, I looked her up. And she rocks.
As a Puerto Rican-American, Rodriguez works hard to make young Puerto Rican girls feel represented and visible in mainstream media. In addition, every Monday, Rodriguez uses her Instagram for #MovementMondays in which she features a Latino actor/Latina actress in order to respond to the lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Gina Rodriguez also worked to create the We Will Foundation, which empowers women from low-income households and backgrounds to work in the arts and receive an arts education. Her character Jane navigates the struggles of being a minority female in a working class home in today’s United States. Rodriguez allows viewers to see a strong, capable woman who has her ups and downs just as anyone else does, but stays true to her beliefs and the people in her life that matter most.
Recently, Rodriguez worked with Luna Bar to bring attention to the issue of gender inequality in the workplace and the wage gap by taking over their Instagram for a day. She even participated in the March for Women in January to promote women’s fundamental rights.
In order to bring more light and positivity to social media and recognize those she believes deserve recognition, Rodriguez’s #MovementMondays posts have now shifted from the Latin community and now showcase men and women who promote positivity, gender or ethnic visibility in the arts, strong values, or the encouragement of others.
Gina Rodriguez works every day with grace and with all her effort even as she fights Hashimoto’s disease, a disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid. Her co-stars constantly sing her praises and attest to her character in ways that let fans know that she really is as wonderful as she is presented online and on the show.
Her commitment to social justice, the empowerment and support of others, and her self-confidence rooted in core beliefs and family makes Gina Rodriguez the role model young girls need so desperately in the media (and would probably make her a pretty good SCU student, too).