Last year, actress Gina Rodriguez won over audiences with her riveting performance in Filly Brown as a promising hip-hop rapper alongside Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips. Soon after the release of the film, The Hollywood Reporter named Rodriguez "the next big thing" and one of the "top 35 Latinos under 35." Her next big-screen project, Sleeping with the Fishes, which recently screened at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, is still making its way through the film circuit in hopes of finding distribution.
We caught up with the actress to talk about life after Filly Brown, her insecurities, physical comedy and her biggest learning lesson to date.
Here are some highlights:
Life after Filly Brown: "Filly Brown gave me the wings to fly, but red carpets are still very uncomfortable. I try to keep in mind that it's a long journey. It's not a race. It's about staying focused, continuing to do good work, make my family and community proud that's all I really want to do… and pay my bills."
Ignore Google--she's NOT a pornographic actress: "It's the worst. I can't seem to get them to change it. I'm not a porno actress! You're never going to catch me doing porn. It is the toughest Internet issue that I have to deal with. I remember I was dating this one guy about a year ago, and he told his parents to Google me to look at my stuff and his parents look me up and call him immediately and say, 'Oh my god, we've raised you better than this. I can't believe you decided to date her.' It was hysterical. It is what it is."
Inspiration: "My grandmother. She's stands up for the people around her, she really lives for others and that's what gives her strength and keeps her happy. She inspires me to be a bigger and better person."
On gaining weight for a role: "I get insecure and scared. I'm afraid of giving up and I don’t want to do that. I felt very vulnerable after Sleeping with the Fishes; I gained weight for the role. I felt a bit out of my skin in the movie and it was hard to watch. I get comments, like, 'Oh my god, you were so fat in that movie.' Or I get asked if I had extra padding and I say, 'No, that was all burritos.'"
Recent lesson learned – Ego is the death of comedy: "I learned a lot from Ana Ortiz, who plays my sister in Sleeping with the Fishes. She told me one day, 'Ego is the death of comedy.' She said Amy Poehler told her that. She said, 'Gina, you are letting go of your ego and that is beautiful.' I was very scared about doing physical comedy and after she said that I wanted to go even further."