Huddersfield Daily Examiner

My worst break-up was the greatest thing that ever happened to me



IF YOU’RE in need of a feel-good watch, get on Netflix and load up Someone Great. Written and directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, the film follows music journalist Jenny, played by Gina Rodriguez, the lead star of US hit T V series Jane The Virgin.

Jenny may have been dumped by her boyfriend of nine years because he can’t face a long-distance relationsh­ip, but she has her two best gal pals, Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow), for one last outrageous adventure in New York City, before she moves to San Francisco.

Chicago-born Gina, 34, knows first-hand that the end of a relationsh­ip can actually be surprising­ly life-affirming.

“My worst break-up caused me to take a moment to find my self-worth and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” says the actress, now engaged to fellow actor (and Someone Great co-star) Joe LoCicero.

“When I realised that I was living too much for the approval of men, or the approval of others, and not for the approval of myself, then I went on a beautiful journey to discover what makes me truly happy. What makes me feel full. What makes me feel cared for, and what I desired in a partner. Now I know.

“So thank you for breaking

up with me – you know who you are.”

Gina, who has started her own company called I Can & I Will Production­s, also worked as one of the producers of Someone Great.

It feels like a refreshing, modern take on the rom-com genre – Jennifer’s vision was to show a woman who becomes her own hero. Notably, there’s not a promise of another romantic relationsh­ip right around the corner.

Instead, it’s a story about friendship – fitting for Gina, seeing as she has known co-star DeWanda since they were studying drama at New York University as teenagers.

“It is a buddy movie and I happened to be very close buddies with one of my co-stars,” the Latina star enthuses.

“To actually be able to perform with her, that’s been quite the joy. And Brittany has been such a lucky surprise.

“We all come from very different background­s, but our chemistry has been beautiful. I have those two girls forever, and I sure as hell am going to make sure that I keep them.”

Not only is this a feature with female protagonis­ts, but there were also 74 women in the crew.

How pivotal does Gina think it is to have so many women working behind the scenes?

“It’s extremely important,” she responds passionate­ly.

“We vocalise how important it is in front of the screen and we don’t do enough vocalising (of ) the necessity behind the screen, because that is where the project gets made, and seeing that reflection is huge.

“Most of it is maledomina­ted in television and film, so when you’re in front of the camera and you look out and see so many women, it gives you not only a sense of pride, but a sense of safety.”

She adds that having a female gaze especially helps when it comes to shooting intimate scenes.

“You’d be so surprised how different it is to have someone come up to you and be like, ‘Close your legs a little bit’.

“Now (I’m) directing, I have an eye to it and I’m immediatel­y like, ‘Hey girl, close your legs a little, baby, because you’re going to like it (how it looks on screen) better, I promise’.”

Even though Gina has been in the industry for over a decade, sex scenes are “new to me” she notes.

“Television sex scenes on Jane The Virgin are very, very different, they’re very modest and very sweet and you can show like, a knee.

“But to have a female gaze on those experience­s... I knew I was going to be protected in a way that is different.

“For females, it’s better. I got a safety I’ve never experience­d.”

Arguably, the most taxing scenes for Gina were those in which we see Jenny facing the pain she feels over her ex-love.

“It’s not normal for somebody to cry for nine hours, and that’s essentiall­y what I had to do as an actress to live in both his coverage, my coverage, and the wide shot,” recalls Gina. “You’re like, ‘Somebody give me a nap, let me get an ice pack, and I’m definitely going to need an Advil (painkiller).’

“So it was a challenge to keep that pain alive and not go utterly insane.”

It’s seven years since Gina, who won a Golden Globe in 2015 for Jane The Virgin, had her breakout performanc­e, as the titular character in Filly Brown.

Shooting Someone Great, with the exciting cinematic backdrop of the buzzing streets of New York, made her reflect on how grateful she is for her career so far.

“I remember sitting in Washington Square Park praying that one day I would be an actress,” she says.

“To sit there now, with so many people gathering and watching us perform, was the ultimate full circle moment.

“On that set, I was thanking God just every minute.”

 ??  ?? Gina Rodriguez on the red carpet
Gina Rodriguez on the red carpet
 ??  ?? L-R: Someone Great stars DeWanda, Gina, and Brittany with writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Someone Great is on Netflix now.
L-R: Someone Great stars DeWanda, Gina, and Brittany with writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great is on Netflix now.
 ??  ?? From left are DeWanda Wise as Erin, Gina Rodriguez as Jenny and Brittany Snow as Blair in Netflix rom-com Someone Great
From left are DeWanda Wise as Erin, Gina Rodriguez as Jenny and Brittany Snow as Blair in Netflix rom-com Someone Great
 ??  ?? Gina and fiancé Joe LoCicero
Gina and fiancé Joe LoCicero
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