At Fuse, we're celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Future Hispanic History Month, highlighting rising stars who are creating history before our very eyes. Today we salute Gina Rodriguez, who's using her fame to stir up some change.
If you're not a die-hard Gina fan (keep reading and you will be), you may remember the actor's tearful speech as she accepted her Golden Globe award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 2015. And after winning award after award for her role as Jane on CW's Jane the Virgin, it's her speeches that have gone viral, showing off just how inspiring the Chicago native is. At the Television Critics Association Awards in 2015, she so eloquently explained why she decided to be a trailblazer for Latino actors:
"I didn’t become an artist to be a millionaire. I didn’t become an actor to wear Louis Vuitton. I have to give this dress back when we’re done. I became an actor to change the way I grew up. The way I grew up, I never saw myself on screen. I have two older sisters. One’s an investment banker. The other one is an doctor, and I never saw us being played as investment bankers. And I realized how limiting that was for me. I would look at the screen and think, ‘Well, there’s no way I can do it, because I’m not there.’ And it’s like as soon as you follow your dreams, you give other people the allowance to follow theirs."
Of Puerto Rican descent, Gina grew up salsa dancing. Through years of hard work and studying fine arts in New York, Rodriguez has made a name for herself in the mainstream media (her most recent project includes leaping over to the big screen for her role in the Mark Wahlberg-starring Deepwater Horizon). And now she's using her fame for good. The actor's list of philanthropic credits is nearing the length of her acting resume. She's a board member on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, whose scholarship she had once received herself. She's raised money by designing a T-shirt for the PACER's Be Good to Each Other Campaign, which combats childhood bullying. She cofounded Naja, an environmentally conscious lingerie line dedicated to creating a flexible work environment for single mothers.
Not to mention that Rodriguez's Instagram is another source of inspiration. Gina spotlights different people weekly on her Movement Mondays, writing dedicated posts about innovators making a change, just like her.