Straight From Hol­ly­wood

Jane The Vir­gin star Gina Ro­driguez is hav­ing fun im­part­ing the show’s ground-break­ing mes­sage.

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Life im­i­tates art for young Jane Vil­lanueva (Gina Ro­driguez) in the Golden Globe-win­ning dram­edy Jane The Vir­gin (2014- cur­rent). Like the te­len­ov­e­las that 23-year- old Jane and her fam­ily so adore, her life has spun ridicu­lously out of con­trol. And why’s that? Well, vir­ginal Jane just found out that she was accidentally im­preg­nated by her doc­tor and the fa­ther isn’t her fi­ancé – it’s her mar­ried boss whom she has a mon­ster crush on. While the show’s premise is de­li­ciously over-the-top, it turns out that Gina is see­ing the se­ri­ous side of her job…

The show is both dra­matic and funny at

the same time, right? Yes. It’s lots of fun. It’s com­edy and drama in one ac­tion­packed hour. They don’t call them soap op­eras, but they’re like a soap opera. I look at my life and go, “Ac­tu­ally, you know, my life is like a soap opera” – maybe not the ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion part but ev­ery­thing else [Laughs]. Jane the Vir­gin is an in­trigu­ing ti­tle. What were your thoughts when you first heard it? When I au­di­tioned, I saw “Ti­tle Char­ac­ter” and thought, “Hmmm, not bad!” Then I read the break­down and went, “Wow! Height­ened re­al­ity.” Then I read the script. [Show cre­ator] Jen­nie Ur­man is bril­liant and amaz­ing at writ­ing strong women. There’s noth­ing bet­ter than be­ing able to play strong women in to­day’s world. I be­lieve that artists not only have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to help peo­ple es­cape their re­al­ity but to also be a gate­keeper to fol­low­ing your dreams. With so­cial me­dia and the way peo­ple per­ceive me­dia, it’s a tool of ed­u­ca­tion. We need strong role mod­els in the me­dia so that we can lib­er­ate kids who don’t be­lieve they can. Jane isn’t only strong, she’s chas­ing her

dreams and choos­ing some­thing that’s not the popular choice. She’s say­ing it’s okay to say no to sex be­fore mar­riage. It’s okay to lis­ten to your par­ents and want to be re­spect­ful. It’s okay to make re­ally tough de­ci­sions and fol­low through with them and have in­tegrity and keep her morals in­tact. That’s the char­ac­ter I want to play. I want the next gen­er­a­tion to see that it’s okay to choose the un­pop­u­lar choice. Since the ti­tle of the show is about a vir­gin,

who had the sex talk with you? I grew up with amaz­ing and strong women – my mom, two sis­ters and my grandma. My fa­ther is this in­cred­i­ble man who re­spects women and holds them to the high­est re­gard. He was sur­rounded by them. He did a re­ally good job in re­mind­ing us how spe­cial we are and ev­ery­one is, that we should hold the same re­spect for our­selves and oth­ers. He kept telling me that I could be any­thing I want to be. The sky is the limit. That’s a trea­sure I was given. Trea­sure the per­son you are, in the skin you have. Be­ing some­body who isn’t a size zero in Hol­ly­wood can get your mind a lit­tle tricked up. The idea of sex­u­al­ity can trip you up. Maybe that’s why I was a tomboy for so long. The idea that I get to play a char­ac­ter who holds onto her vir­gin­ity as a gift to give some­one else… we can all re­late be­cause whether or not we can get our vir­gin­ity back, we all have a gift to give and we all de­serve re­spect and should give it in the same re­gard. So my dad had that talk with me. The women were in front of me as such great role mod­els, go­ing af­ter what they wanted. They never let any­body stand in their way and they weren’t go­ing to give up their gift eas­ily. Now we have a plat­form to re­mind girls that, hey, maybe it’s not the popular choice but it’s an awe­some gift to be able to give some­one.

EX­CLU­SIVE

Jane with her baby­daddy-to-be Rafael

(Justin Bal­doni).

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