#MondayMotivation: Gina Rodriguez is our Woman of the Week!


Every Monday, Culturess chooses one woman in pop culture to be our Woman of the Week.  These women inspire and empower us to kick ass, take names, fight the good fight, and live our best lives.  Today, our Woman of the Week is Gina Rodriguez!

Just two short years ago, a visibly shocked Gina Rodriguez, fresh from the first season of her breakout role in Jane the Virgin, took the stage at the Golden Globes. At the time, she previously had been a virtually unknown actress.  But in that moment, she had just been announced the winner of the Golden Globe in the Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy category. “This award is so much more than myself,” she said tearfully in her speech. “It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes. 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.”

Gina Rodriguez attends the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ premiere (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

She did. And she hasn’t stopped. Rodriguez’s work as Jane Villanueva is almost universally lauded as one of the best performances on American television right now. Regardless of gender and ethnicity, her talent is absolutely undeniable. But in Jane the Virgin, it’s even more of a gift. The show has been crucial in helping turn the tide of mainstream TV away from the default white male narrative. And that’s due in no small part to Rodriguez, who previously turned down roles because they did not portray Latinas in a positive, empowering way. “For once, I was reading a script where they weren’t talking about my ethnicity,” she told the New York Times in 2014. “They weren’t putting a Puerto Rican flag on my shoulder. They weren’t putting a taco in my hand.”

But her skill as an actress is not the only remarkable thing about Gina Rodriguez. Now that she has a platform, she’s using it at every turn to speak out about what she believes in. Her passion for the issues of rights and equal opportunities for women and minorities is evident in all of her endeavors. And Rodriguez’s philanthropic efforts increase in tandem with her fame. As just one example, she was once a recipient of a scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; now she is a member of its board of directors.

Rodriguez’s unending support of other women and the Latinx community is exhaustive and inspiring. She speaks out regularly about what it’s like to be on television and in movies as a Latina, particularly one whose body type doesn’t meet the restrictive and unhealthy beauty standards we often see on our screens. On her Instagram, she has her own Monday series, called #MovementMondays. There, she features Latinx people in all fields who are killing the game and deserve recognition. And almost daily, you can find Rodriguez responding to her Twitter followers individually, taking the time to congratulate one for acing a test or to encourage another when they are having a tough week.

Gina Rodriguez in Jane the Virgin, Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW

I could write about how amazing Gina Rodriguez is every week. But I chose this week because tonight, Dec. 19, she is hosting the Marie Claire Young Women’s Honors. This brand new awards show, created by Rodriguez herself, will celebrate “young women who had a dream and made it a reality.” And it’s the inaugural project for Rodriguez’s own brand new production company, I Can and I Will Productions.

Something tells me it won’t be the last.

Gina Rodriguez has worked through every setback and come out on the other side more positive than ever. Her talent as an actress is undeniable, but it’s her sincerity and kindness that inspire us most. And once she established a place for herself, she put herself in a position to lift others up. Her commitment to creating a space for marginalized voices has already made a huge difference, and it will continue to do so for years to come. For all these reasons and more, we are proud to name Gina Rodriguez our Woman of the Week.

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Thank you for everything you do, Gina! Now let’s all find one way to bring another woman up the ladder with us this week, in honor of this incredible woman!

Gina Rodriguez’s work is available here:

Marie Claire Young Women’s Honors:  Watch the award show tonight!  Monday, December 19 at 9/8c on The CW.  Visit the website for more information!

Jane the Virgin:  Currently on a mid-season hiatus, Jane will come back to the CW on Monday nights on January 23.  But you can catch up on Netflix and on the CW website!

Instagram and Twitter:  Follow @hereisgina (Twitter) and @hereisgina (Insta) for Rodriguez’s #MovementMondays, as well as other empowering and encouraging posts!