Gina Rodriguez is the type of woman you want in your tribe. She’s encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, and motivating, so much so that the Jane the Virgin actress recently managed to convince hundreds of fans to share their selfies on Twitter, using #SelfiesforGina, as part of a self-love movement. The responses flooded her timeline, moving her to tears. “#SelfiesforGina got me in tears. I am so beyond inspired by the movement of self-love,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter. “Let’s never stop this rolling ball of positivity!”
And that encouragement to build confidence in others isn’t the only reason we adore this Chicago-born Boricua — here are six reasons why Gina Rodriguez is beyond inspirational (and needs to be our BFF).
She pushes women to be their own heroes.
In May 2016, Rodriguez graced the cover of Women’s Health magazine where she discussed the importance of body positivity and looking within, embracing all that we are rather than aspiring to be like an image we see on Instagram or TV. “It’s like we women consciously decide we’re going to be mean to ourselves,” she told the magazine. “But you’re your own hero, not some image you can’t live up to.”
She created a movement to highlight diversity in Hollywood.
After #OscarsSoWhite last year, where actors of color were completely forgotten about by The Academy, the Golden Globe award-winning star launched #MovementMondays, a social media push to recognize those actors often overlooked. “I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen,” she wrote, in her first #MovementMondays post, which she dedicated to Oscar Isaac. “There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds, our unity can make a movie explode at the box office, or a TV show soar to the highest viewers possible.”
Rodriguez first began by highlighting those within the Latinx community, and then shortly used her platform to honor all actors of color. In addition to #MovementMondays, the Filly Brown star inked an overall deal with CBS for her I Can and I Will Productions to bring more diverse stories and faces to the screen.
She’s helping break down stigmas around sex and purity culture.
Has your mom or abuela ever really talked to you about sex? Or made you feel wrong for embracing your sexuality? Probably, and that’s because the mere mention of sex has often been deemed taboo among older generation Latinxs. That’s okay! We can change that conversation, and Ms. Gina is helping to do just that. In a recent interview with Bust magazine, Rodriguez described purity culture and being ashamed of masturbating. “I was definitely raised with that. In all honesty, I used to feel guilty for masturbating. Oh my god, this extreme guilt! And that lasted way too long. Or maybe I masturbated too much!” Rodriguez explained. “It’s OK to look back in retrospect and be like, it wasn’t good that I felt bad about touching myself. And it isn’t bad that I want to share my love with my boyfriend. I’m 32 years old, I’m an adult, I can do that!”
She co-created an eco-friendly lingerie line designed for every woman.
Rodriguez teamed up with Colombian designer Catalina Girald to cofound Naja, a lingerie line that is not only created to be eco-conscious, but also empowering. “We want to disrupt the way lingerie is marketed toward women by creating a brand that seeks to empower women instead of objectifying them,” the brand’s site states. “We did away with fake wind blowing into models’ hair and poses singularly aimed at the male gaze in order to connect with the smart, courageous, and sexy women of today.”
The brand also made headlines after launching their “Nude for All” campaign. Naja wanted to make sure that every woman would be able to find their perfect nude shade match. In a press release, Girald shared that their mission was to make “nude a reality for all women,” not “singling out one specific race, ethnicity or color.”
She reminds us that we can and will achieve anything we want.
Who could forget the incredible speech Gina delivered on the 2015 Golden Globes stage? It was highly impactful, motivational, and inspiring. It was after winning her very first Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. She made us all cry that night, honoring her community and quoting her father’s encouraging words. “This award is so much more than myself, it represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes,” a tearful Rodriguez said, acknowledging her fellow Latinxs.
“My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad — Today is a great day. I can and I did.”
From that day forward, we all knew for sure that we can and we most certainly will.
She stands up for every Latinx who has ever been made to feel like they’re not “Latino enough.”
Some Latinos have a tendency of making other Latinos not feel accepted. It’s as though they’ve created this handbook the majority of us have yet to read that defines what constitutes a Latinx. Don’t speak Spanish? You’re not Latino. Don’t look as this invisible checklist says you should? You’re not Latino.
The Jane the Virgin actress has been made to feel as though she’s not Latina enough, and during a sit down with HuffPost, she delivered one of the most incredible responses to the issue. “You want to tell me I’m not Latino enough? Why don’t you stop speaking and look in the mirror and speak to yourself, because you’re telling me something that you actually probably feel about yourself,” Rodriguez said. “Because hurt people, hurt people. … I am as Latina as they come. And I am not defined by anybody’s definition of Latina. I don’t actually sit in a definition. I walk in my world, happily and confidently.”