The future is female … but is she being paid enough? Not yet she’s not. Enter Gina Rodriguez, who recently partnered with Luna Bar to help close the gender pay gap that still very much exists in the United States. (ICYMI, today is #equalpayday and women still make 20 percent less than men on average, which adds up to a startling amount of lost income over the course of a career.) While the Jane the Virgin star is irrefutably successful today, her circumstances weren’t always so cushy. “Growing up the way I grew up, in a low-income neighborhood as a Latina woman, we were just happy to have a job,” she told Yahoo Celebrity. “That is precisely the mentality that allows the gender gap to go unnoticed and unspoken about.” And that mentality didn’t change when she landed a starring role on a prime-time TV show. “When I got it I thought, I’m just so happy to be here that I’m not going to do anything to mess this up. I am not going to cause a stir. I am going to stay in a little corner and you don’t have to hear from me,” she explained, noting that upon reflection, she was alarmed by how timid she had been.
Perhaps even more telling, however, was the way other women responded to her success. Shortly after posting a photo announcing that women average 20 percent less than men in terms of pay, her account began blowing up with snarky comments — from women. “People are like, ‘Well you make more than everyone!’ Rodriguez reported as she scrolled through the post.
“It’s not about money, first and foremost; it’s about this larger conversation about women’s equality. This should be a positive thing,” Rodriguez sighed. Remarkably, she noted that she would respond to many of the comments directly. “They are supporting your career,” she said. “So if you have the time to write online something that I don’t think is factual, I have the time to write back to you. I think it’s important. I like when people inform me, when I’m corrected, when I’m held accountable.” She did add, however, that she didn’t enjoy being attacked. “I’m an actor, but I’m also a human being,” she said.
While many women believe they are under attack in the current political climate, Rodriguez specifies that her feelings are about specific actions being taken in the White House versus the person who is taking them. “If we had a female president and the same executive orders were being passed, would I feel differently? No, no, no!” she noted. “If we had a female president and those weren’t being passed, then yes, hell yes, I would! But it is the actions that are being carried out by our government that are very dangerous to everyone and there is like, nobody is safe.” It’s for that reason in particular that she feels it’s so important to hear out opinions that are different from your own. “I think in this political climate, what’s important is unity and love and supporting one another, and if you don’t support someone else’s perspective or belief, be informed on it. Figure out why they feel that way. It’s called empathy,” she said as she glanced again at the comments rolling in to her post.
But Rodriguez isn’t about to let her career take over her life. “I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I want both, for sure, God willing — if that’s the life that I’m supposed to have,” she said as she rapped her knuckles on the wooden coffee table. Rodriguez and her boyfriend, Joe LoCicero, went public with their relationship a few months back after keeping it a secret for quite some time. On the decision to just put it out there, she said, “There was a real conversation about it. I was like, ‘This is dumb. Come on. This is our life and we’re allowed to live it. People are going to say things whether we are actors or not.'” According to the actress, that decision has actually made things “easier” for them. “Now I don’t always have to be so worried about everything,” she said.
Part of what she doesn’t have to worry about is being photographed on date nights. “I’ve gotten comfortable with the fact that people are going to take pictures with or without makeup,” she said, noting that regardless of how busy their schedules get, they “force” time together. “I make time for it. I make time for experiencing life. As an actor, I have to experience life. You have to interact with the world,” she mused. “I just try to be as present as possible, and then when I’m not, I just pull myself in check.” When her anxiety rises to a level she’s not comfortable with, she credits LoCicero with helping pull her “back in check,” which, she noted, was just another thing she adores about him. “He’s phenomenal. He’s next level,” she said. “I really hope that I get to stick with him forever because he’s a forever guy. He’s fantastic. He’s the best.”
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