With just one television role, Gina Rodriguez became a household name. Four years after the debut of her hit CW series JANE THE VIRGIN, Rodriguez is everywhere: In movies; more TV; awards shows; and magazine covers. The mega-talented and charming Puerto Rican actress is a legitimate super-star.
This winter she’ll show us a different side of her talent in the action thriller MISS BALA. Rodriguez plays a young woman who infiltrates a drug cartel in order to save her best friend’s life. The February 1 release is destined to become another hit for Rodriguez — and one more item on the list of reasons we love her.
This Jane Is Anything But Plain
Before landing her star-making role on JANE THE VIRGIN, Rodriguez caught Hollywood’s attention with her award-winning performance as young hip-hop artist Majo Tenorio in the 2012 indie musical FILLY BROWN. Two years later, Rodriguez nabbed the starring role on The CW’s romantic comedy series JANE THE VIRGIN. The show follows Jane, a young religious Latina woman who, as you might’ve guessed, is a virgin. After she is artificially inseminated by accident, Jane winds up pregnant and her whole world is turned upside down.
The show turned Rodriguez into an overnight sensation. She quickly started winning awards – including a Golden Globe for Best Actress – for her sympathetic and utterly charming portrayal of Jane. The series has also been praised by the Hispanic community for its diversity and the way it breaks from Latino stereotypes.
She Puts Her Money Where Her Mouth Is
Rodriguez uses her high profile (and her substantial earnings) to promote causes close to her heart. In 2015, she joined the board of directors for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the leading non-profit organization that supports Hispanic-Americans seeking higher education. Rodriguez herself was actually granted a scholarship from HSF to pursue her own college degree, which she received from New York University.
Also in 2015, Rodriguez, along with several other celebrities, teamed up with the National Bullying Prevention Center and CustomInk to raise money for The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights. 100 percent of the profits from the T-shirt designed by Rodriguez, which was printed with the phrase “Kindness is always in style,” went to the non-profit organization.
One year later, Rodriguez nabbed a coveted spot on Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100, a list of the “world’s biggest trailblazers.” She was in good company, as the list also included filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the founders of SoulCycle, and ballerina Misty Copeland. In 2017, Rodriguez joined a group of Puerto Rican celebrities to sing on a song called “Almost Like Praying,” written by HAMILTON creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. All proceeds from the sales of that song went to those affected by Hurricane Maria.
And She Just Keeps Getting Better
While most actors would use their newfound super-fame to star in giant blockbusters and superhero flicks, Rodriguez is making choices that are a bit more interesting. This year, for example, she starred opposite Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson in the dark sci-fi thriller ANNIHILATION (above), from the director of EX MACHINA.
But she hasn’t forgotten her family-friendly roots; Rodriguez has lent her voice to animated films like this year’s SMALLFOOT. She’s also producing and starring in the rom-com SOMEONE GREAT, hitting theaters in 2019.
Her most anticipated new film is MISS BALA. She plays Gloria, a young woman trapped between the drug cartel that kidnapped her best friend and the DEA that wants to use her to infiltrate them. Gloria is forced to toughen up and become a ruthless double-agent in order to save her friend before it’s too late. It’s a side of Rodriguez we’ve never seen before, and we love the way she continues to surprise us.
MISS BALA opens on February 1.