Jane The Virgin's Gina Rodriguez on Changing Television for Girls

By Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger September 23, 2015

Every television production involves a lot of people and hard work, and yet sometimes they are labeled only as bad or good, when there’s more to be considered. That’s why once in a while, I like to highlight TV shows that are really making a difference, especially for women. That being said, (in case you haven’t already) I would like to invite you to check out the CW's comedy-drama, Jane the Virgin. Warning: Don’t judge the show by its name and don’t expect less than a great performance from Gina Rodriguez, who won the Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, the very first Golden Globe award for The CW.

Right in the first episode, the show presents the question: Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Personally, I find it hard to make a statement on that matter, because honestly how can you say that you're pro-life or pro-choice if you never had to make that call? I think it's important for us as women and as human beings, to see these kinds of controversial issues as individual situations, not just generalizing all of them as right or all of them as wrong. That’s what this show does flawlessly; it integrates many social issues and encourages people to look for knowledge instead of judgment.

image by Claudia Ciuffo

That’s also what got Gina into the story– she refuses to play characters that won’t serve as role models for young Latinos: “I'm defined by my character, and my character is a strong woman that's independent, that's following her dreams, that wants love, that wants a family, that wants to succeed just like anybody else in this world. I found it limiting to see women of my skin color only playing very specific roles as though Latino stories are different,” Gina told THR last year when the first season premiered.

I found it limiting to see women of my skin color only playing very specific roles as though Latino stories are different.

And when THR asked what message she hoped to send to young women who are tuning into Jane? She replied: “This is not specific to one ethnicity. We're going to represent the human story with a new face that hasn't been seen before. I want little girls to be able to see that their uniqueness is what makes them special; they're imperfectly perfect like everybody else. What's so beautiful about Jane is that she's the every-girl. Jane is not specifically Latina; she's a very specific girl who is a type-A who wants her dreams to come true. I want to change beauty norms. I eat cookies and brownies but nobody's talking about what I look like on this show. Nobody's talking about beauty on the show. It's not a conversation because it doesn't need to be one. Because the only person I'm worried about [liking] what she looks like in the mirror is me.”

image by Claudia Ciuffo

Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is not an easy task, that’s the reason I admire people that can do that in real life and in front of the cameras. As shallow as the entertainment industry can be, I truly believe that it has a crucial influence on our society. TV shows, telenovelas, and movies have the unique ability of starting conversations that matter. As they portray our lives on the screens, they help us to think outside the box, outside the limited scenarios of our ordinary lives.

Actors do much more than just play pretend for a living, they have the difficult task of telling our stories; they represent us, as well as our beliefs and values. That’s what I love most about this form of art, how we can see ourselves in the characters and relate to them. And that’s how actresses like Rodriguez are changing the game in Hollywood, by staying true to themselves, by not putting a price on their integrity, by lending their voices to great causes and serving as inspiration to many.

Jane The Virgin returns to The CW Monday, October 12 at 9/8c. Catch up on season one here!

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What characters or TV shows are inspiring you to see the world and the people in it differently? How? Tell us about it below!


About Luana

LUANA_MATTOS_writer_bio.jpgLuana is a believer: her faith is what moves her! She believes in God, and that's why she does not conform to the pattern of this world. She is transformed by the renewing of mind. She believes a pencil can change the world– why she invests monthly in Pencils of Promise. She believes in companionship over competition– why she sponsors a girl. She believes in entertainment without gossip and hostility– why she joined the Brazilian website hollywoodeaqui.com. She believes in the impossible– why she never stops dreaming!


Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.

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