You may know her as Jane Villanueva, the lovable, quirky, and accidentally artificially inseminated Latina from The CW show Jane the Virgin, but actress and women’s-issues activist Gina Rodriguez has proven that she wears many hats both on and off screen.
Rodriguez has recently announced her newest project, a show about empowering women. The show, which she will be producing, follows a group of women who become friends through social media on a secret online feminist group. Together, they form a makeshift alliance of women who guide and support each other through the good, bad, and ugly.
The woman-led series, tentatively titled Femme, is set to run on the same network that airs Rodriguez’s breakout hit, Jane the Virgin. Her company, I Can & I Will, will be executive producing, while the writers of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, another hilarious CW show, will be writing and producing alongside her.
Rodriguez’s career behind the camera doesn’t stop there. In April of this year, it was announced that she will be working with Netflix to voice Carmen Sandiego in Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, a cartoon reboot of the character series from the 1990s. Rodriguez is also getting ready to work on two other passion projects, a drama called Have Mercy, and a dramedy called Dr. Illegal.
Have Mercy tells the story of a Latina doctor who immigrates to Miami and loses her license to practice due to her lack of citizenship. She then decides to open her own clinic out of her apartment to give back to the community. Dr. Illegal is based on the life of Rafael Agustin, who also happens to be Rodriguez’s co-executive producer and writer of the show. It follows an average American high school student who one day suddenly learns that he is undocumented. The themes of these projects could not be more timely, especially with the political controversy over DACA.
These are the kinds of shows we all need in our lives right now. Women, especially women of color, are drastically underrepresented in television and movies, and when they are represented, they’re often reduced to stereotypes and typecasts. Rodriguez has said in past interviews that when she was a child, she would watch TV and be confused as to why none of the characters looked like her. She told the Washington Post, “When I watched ‘Full House,’ I never existed. I was never portrayed. And when I did see us, we always had a very inferior position in life.” She continued, “That lack of visibility, that lack of relatability, really made me feel kind of alone in this world. It really made me feel a certain way about myself, about beauty, what I could and could not be.”
No little girl should ever feel like their experience doesn’t matter or deserve to be told. What Rodriguez is creating is more than just television. She’s using her platform to expose the world’s diversity and the beauty within it. She’s standing up for those who have been ignored. I cannot wait for her to give these types of Latinx women and men some screen time, and portray them as the considerate, smart, complicated, multifaceted people that they are.
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