Gina Rodriguez is set to receive the CinemaCon Female Star of Tomorrow Award in Vegas next month . It’s a recognition that Shailene Woodley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Britt Robertson have all held. This year, CinemaCon decided to break out of their pretty, white blondes streak and reward the always-deserving Gina Rodriguez. The convention’s director called Gina “a formidable talent.” He’s right but “formidable” is an understatement.
Gina has already won a Golden Globe but if you aren’t watching Jane The Virgin, you probably don’t know that she is basically the fire emoji incarnate. This is when I yell at you to watch Jane The Virgin. It was renewed for a third season and I’m just finishing up season one so I deserve to be yelled at too. Gina is so goddamn good. The whole show is SO good. It is living proof that, as Duana mentioned yesterday, we are at ‘peak TV.’
So Gina already has a Globe. This year, she’ll star in Deepwater Horizon with Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell (directed by Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg OMG) and in 2017, the highly anticipated Annihilation with Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, my girl Tessa Thompson and directed by the Alex Garland, the dude who gave us Ex Machina (OMG). Both of those films sound HUGE. It’s a good time to be Gina Rodriguez. Really good. So it would be easy for Gina to be selfish right now. She’s been hustling at her craft since 17 and her big break came in her late twenties. It would be easy for her to bask in her “It Girl” status.
Instead, every Monday, Gina Rodriguez takes the time to recognize talent that isn’t her own. Every week, armed with the hashtag #MovementMondays Gina posts on Instagram about the actors and actresses in the Latino community who are killing it on the big and small screens. She started with Guatemalan American actor (and everyone’s imaginary BF, sorry Lainey) Oscar Isaac.
Movement Monday's. This is Oscar Isaac. He is a Guatemalan American actor. This is a picture from Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland and was released this past year. With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show soar to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed. Right now there isn't one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. That means no studio will put their money behind a Latino face as a lead of a movie because they don't believe we can make their money back. I am told time and time again "Latinos dont watch Latino Movies. Latinos don't support each other" and sadly that is true. I'm not saying go and see a movie you don't like to blind support, im saying if you want to see us represented on film and tv, if you want to see Latinos nominated for Oscars, we NEED to support one another. The industry sees money, the excuse can't just be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community. Oscar Isaac, in my opinion had an Oscar worthy performance in this film. Let's start making noise with where it matters most, where we put our dollars. Go support these films, watch these shows (mine is on tonight by the way, shameless promotion feel free to watch on the CW) and we can take making a change into our own hands. Each Monday I will highlight a latino artist we can support. Let us use our numbers and powerful voices to prove we support one another, to prove we can make a box office hit, to prove they need to support all the various Latino cultures in the media. That can be one part of the solution, so next year we have many movies that are worthy of Oscar contention! #MovementMondays Pick any Latino currently working we can support!
She went on to highlight Mexican playwright Tanya Saracho...
#MovementMondays This is Tanya Saracho. She was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México. She is a Chicago playwright who currently writes for Television (HBO's "Looking," "Girls," and "Devious Maids."). Named "Best New Playwright" by Chicago Magazine. She currently writes on "How To Get Away With Murder" with one of my favorites @karlasouzaofficial a fellow Latina actress. Tanya, I will be rooting you on and know it's only a matter of time when you get nominated for an Oscar for your film one day for best screenplay! Congrats to Alejandro for a second year in a row Oscar Win for the Revenant. As well as Gabriel Osorio for Best Animated Short! Latinos are very proud of you and continue to support your films! Tell me your thoughts on last nights #oscars anything and everything! Sound off #warriors, what would you like to have seen? How did you think Chris Rock did?...I will be responding should anyone wants to chat about it all!
Then Cuban actress Rosa Salazar...
#MovementMondays This is Rosa Salazar. She is a Cuban American actor. She has graced us with her talent in the huge franchises Divergent and Maze Runner. This past year she has skyrocketed and represented the Latino community with grace and honor. Other projects we can support Men seeking Women and Chips projected to come out later this year. Here is proof of our power and the sad reality of our current state. Latinos make up 4% of speaking roles in films ONLY 4% (we are 17% of the population!) Latinos watch 9.5 movies a year making us the highest majority of movie watchers!!!! “You don’t have a major hit without Hispanic moviegoers,” Chris Aronson, Fox’s president of domestic distribution, told TheWrap. We watch the most movies than any other ethnic group, can you even fathom the power we have?!?! It's amazing!! Yet, independent films led by Latinos haven't had the best luck Cesar Chavez (with Latino Lead Michael Pena) grossed 5.6 million. Yet, Latinos make up 25% of the box office! We could get that number up! And when we do they invest more in us! When we show them where the money is going and where their money should be going, I think we can increase this 4%. How do we have Latino Stars to represent us? How do we have more Rosa Salazar's? WE MAKE THEM! WE MAKE THEM! “fewer Latino lead actors in the entertainment industry today, than there were seventy years ago,” a recent study by the Columbia University Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race shows. We must show the studios that if they cast Latinos then we will go watch the movies that include us, the whole of US, not just the Mexican movies or Puerto Rican ones, ALL OF THEM! We are stronger as a unit. Clearly we are very strong! And our human stories are no different. We should be SuperHeroes and Marvel Comic leads, we should be James Bond and Charlie's Angels (you get my point!) We need more writers, directors and studio heads, which will all be highlighted in the next coming weeks! My question of the week: what if we didn't watch these big marvel movies until they put us in them? What if we used our power to withhold until we are the leads in them?...
And Brazilian-born Deadpool star Morena Baccarin.
#MovementMondays This is Morena Baccarin, she is a Brazilian actress. Born in Rio de Janeiro and later moved to New York City where she was raised. She is known for portraying Inara Serra in the series Firefly. Her most recent role Vanessa in the superhero comedy film Deadpool, and Jessica Brody in the Showtime series Homeland (for which she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2013). You can catch her on television as the role of Dr. Leslie Thompkins in the Fox television series Gotham. She is an outstanding actress, not only in drama but killed it in comedy as Karen Walker in one of my favorite comedic films Spy. Morena, today I celebrate how fantastic your work has brought pride to women everywhere! Keep making us laugh and cry! #MovementMondays
While she does highlight male talent, it’s her recognition of her fellow badass women of colour that I find impressive and inspiring.
Gina’s generosity reminds me of a speech Gabrielle Union gave at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in 2013. Gabrielle confessed that she was coming up in the industry as a young black woman who saw other black actresses only as competition. Here’s the most brutally honest and real bit of the speech:
“I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.”
I revisit this speech in reference to Gina’s #MovementMondays because there aren’t a lot of roles for Latina women in Hollywood. That is a fact. When the roles are sparse and you know you and the handful of other non-white girls in town are probably going up for similar roles, I can see how it would be easy for the jealousy, and competition would take over. I understand how, like Gabrielle admitted, you could feel like their shine would diminish your own. Gina’s star is rising now. Her light is just beginning to burn bright in an industry that can get very dark if you’re not one of the pretty white blondes. Gina is taking the voice she’s been given and using it to big up the women around her because if she doesn’t, who will?
This is the Gina “I Can and I Will” Rodriguez we fell in love with during her Golden Globes acceptance speech. If she truly is the Star of Tomorrow, the future of Hollywood is looking pretty damn bright.
Attached - Gina at The 3rd Annual unite4:humanity event in Beverly Hills last month.