Are you tired of me talking about Latinas on TV?! Great because it’s not over! Cristela’s premiere was a hit Friday night and TONIGHT Gina Rodriguez debuts on her own CW TV show – Jane the Virgin.
Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is a driven young woman studying to become a teacher, nursing a dream to be a writer, and supporting herself with a job at a hot new Miami hotel. All the years of watching telenovelas with the two women who raised her — her sexy, young-at-heart mother, Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) and her still-devout grandmother, Alba (Ivonne Coll) — have given Jane a slightly unrealistic view of romance, but her wonderful fiancé, Michael (Brett Dier), is supportive and even understands her decision to “save herself” until marriage.
All of Jane’s meticulous life plans are turned upside down, however, when she sees her doctor for a routine check-up and is accidentally artificially inseminated with a specimen meant for someone else. Now, Jane is faced with the most important decisions of her life — a life that has suddenly become as dramatic, complicated and unpredictable as the telenovelas she has always loved. (CW)
I introduced QueMeansWhat readers to the talented Gina Rodriguez when I wrote a review of Filly Brown in 2013. You may remember that I fell in love with her when I heard her say that her work is important to her because of all the little brown babies who will grow up watching Gina in movies and on TV. Eso, Gina! That will always stick with me. Two years since I heard you say that we’ve seen Gina in Filly Brown, Sleeping With the Fishes and now on TV in Jane the Virgin!
Side note: Sleeping With the Fishes, written and directed by Nicole Gomez-Fisher – who is amazing! Go watch it on HBO on demand and HBO Latino. It’s available now through end of October.
Back to Gina … in a recent interview with Fox News Latino, she addressed Latino-ness on TV and stereotypes:
“There’s nothing wrong with being or portraying maids or landscapers and telling those stories. But when other stories are not told, you limit the Latino experience for Latinos, for the American mainstream and really for everybody. Sometimes it feels that if Latinos are American then we’re somehow denying our Latino-ness. No, we are bicultural. People know I wave my Puerto Rican flag everywhere I go, but at the same time, I was born here in America, I’m American. We shouldn’t have this fear of having to authenticate one or the other.”
“Look, I don’t know the answer. I’m always learning, always growing and I feel like a student who still hasn’t arrived. People don’t need to be smacked over the head with my Latino-ness or my American-ness.”
“I feel that ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’ and ‘Jane the Virgin’ get it right by simply telling a story that doesn’t hit you over the head with one thing or another. I just happen to have a brown face and I love it!”
Did I tell you how much I love this lady? I’m proud that she is a Latina on TV. The Latinas on TV today are not only changing the color of TV but they are now telling the stories for multiple generations of Latinos. As 4th-generation American on one side and 5th-generation on another side, I’m beyond excited to see Gina’s character on TV.
Jane the Virgin premieres tonight, Monday, October 13th at 8PM CST. Check your local listings.