When Gina Rodriguez isn't melting our hearts on Jane the Virgin or powering the world with her zillion-watt smile, she's fighting for more Latinx representation in Hollywood one powerful message at a time. It's no surprise that she's an ambassador for the #SeeHer campaign, which urges more accurate portrayals of women and girls in media.
Whether the Jane the Virgin star's on Twitter or onstage in front of millions of viewers, she's never afraid to speak her mind. Upon accepting the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy in 2015, Rodriguez said her win represented a "culture that wants to see themselves as heroes," before dedicating her Globe to her father. She explained that her father used to tell her to say every morning, "Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will."
It's that same work ethic and unbreakable spirit that makes Rodriguez, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents, an inspiration for young women everywhere. Better yet: She's never too busy to dish out some advice to fans on how to do it too. Let's take a look at some of Rodriguez's most inspirational moments:
On changing the tired Latinx narrative in media with her own production company, I Can and I Will ProductionsGetty Images
"I've specifically decided to say no to projects that weren't advancing Latinos, that weren't showing us in a positive light, roles that were gratuitous and spreading untruths," she told Cosmopolitan back in 2012. "This company is about creating opportunities for Latinos to make projects that don't pigeonhole us."
On how a little hard work goes a long wayGetty Images
"Hard work and dedication and perseverance and being good to people does win," Rodriguez told BuzzFeed in 2014, following her historic Golden Globe nomination (a first for The CW). "It does matter. Cream does rise to the top."
On saying no to playing Latinx stereotypesThe CW
Rodriguez has been incredibly candid about her decision to pass on a starring role on Lifetime's Devious Maids, from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. In an interview with the New York Times, the actress revealed she didn't want to be part of the buzzworthy drama because it played into the same Latinx stereotypes she'd seen before. "That's something I didn't want to contribute to, the incorrect perception of a culture," she said. "The industry's had this constant notion that Latinos have a different story when there's nothing about me that’s different."
On being a proud LatinaGetty Images
"My community stays with me," she told EW in 2014. "My culture, my people, my 54 million–plus people stays with me wherever I go. That will never change. I’m all about my Latinos. And all Latinos. I'm not just talking about Puerto Ricans. I'm the every Latina. There’s no specificity in that."
On loving yourself no matter what
Rodriguez's Emmy campaign for Jane the Virgin was truly one of a kind. Instead of the customary adoring quotes from critics, The CW printed Rodriguez's own words about fulfilling her dream, representing her community, and loving herself on the Emmy mailers. The campaign read, "I want to liberate girls to say, 'I don't have to be a perfect size 0. I can be a perfect size me.'"
On changing Hollywood's standardsThe CW
"We live in an industry where the desire to be something that you're not sells," she told HuffPost Live in 2015. "But why can't we make the desire to be what you are sell? Why can't we make that profitable?"
On the importance of educationGetty Images
When Cosmo for Latinas asked Rodriguez if she had any advice for young Latinas, she replied, "Get an education. The one thing that nobody can take away from you is your education. I'm here, I'm present, I'm a contributor to society, I deserve to be part of this conversation, I have an opinion, listen to me roar." Rodriguez, a graduate from New York University, has since made it her goal to "turn education into empowerment."
Gina is just one of an extraordinary group of women supporting the See Her movement. Check out what Olympian Laurie Hernandez had to say about representing her heritage and being a Latina role model.
For more information about the #SeeHer movement, visit seeher.com or join the conversation using the hashtag.