Gina Rodriguez is an award-winning American actress. She shot to fame for her role as Jane Gloriana Villanueva in the CW series, Jane the Virgin. Since finding fame, she has dealt with every aspect of it, from controversies to increased interest in her love life.
But while acting is what she is best known for, it is not the only thing she does. Gina is also a notable activist and humanitarian, who has used her platform to push a host of social reforms. For many aspiring Latina actors, the actress’s life is an inspiration, evidence of what is possible if you commit yourself to a dream from a young age.
Gina Rodriguez’s Entertainment Career Began at Age 7
Gina Alexis Rodriguez was born on July 30, 1984, in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in a family of five that comprised of herself, two other sisters, and her parents; Magali and Genaro Rodríguez. Rodriguez’s parents are originally from Puerto Rico, which makes her Latina.
Other than the fact that her parents raised her a Catholic in the Northwest Side of Chicago, there is a shortage of information about them. But perhaps the most important detail about them, especially in regards to Gina is, they are supportive parents who encouraged their daughter’s creative pursuits.
At the age of seven, when most parents kept their children on the traditional academic path, Gina, with her parents’ support, began performing with the salsa dance company, Fantasia Juvenil. She performed regularly in the local Puerto Rican parade and followed the creative string to Hollywood.
She was part of the dance company till 17, all while attending St. Ignatius College Prep. Her performance as a dancer, combined with her impressive academic records, helped her secure a place at Columbia University as part of the school’s theatrical collaboration program.
After the end of the program, Gina stayed in New York and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She spent four years at the school, and also trained at the Atlantic Theater Company, graduating both in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree.
Her Sisters are Accomplished Women
Gina Rodriguez is the youngest of three sisters. Her elder sisters are high flying individuals in their own right. One of them, Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and is now a partner at a private-equity firm. The other, Rebecca Rodriguez, is a doctor. She is an internist and graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. Rebecca works at the renowned Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago.
Gina credits her family for her success; in her own words, “she is not a self-made anything.” For instance, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in her junior year of college. The disease forced her to miss some of her classes, and she subsequently lost her scholarship. Her sister, Ivelisse, provided the extra funds that ensured she finished her schooling.
Gina’s Rise to Fame and Hollywood Success
Gina Rodriguez made her first professional screen appearance on the legal drama Law and Order in 2004. She appeared in two episodes as Inez Soriano. She made subsequent appearances on shows like Eleventh Hour, 10 Things I Hate About You, Army Wives, Happy Endings, and The Mentalist.
Before she became a recognizable face on primetime television, Gina starred in a recurring role in the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, between 2011 and 2012. She appeared in a series of projects afterward (13 in total) before she found her breakthrough role as Jane Villanueva in Jane the Virgin.
Her work on the CW romantic comedy-drama, Jane the Virgin, remains her most prominent role to date. There, she plays a religious young Latina virgin who becomes pregnant after being mistakenly artificially inseminated. The show proved popular with critics and audiences alike and earned Rodriguez many awards.
Since she achieved national and international stardom with the role, Gina Rodriguez has built on her resume with roles like Carmen Sandiego in Carmen Sandiego, Gina Alvarez in Big Mouth, and the films Scoob! and Kajillionaire.
So far, she has more than 50 credits to her name and has received more than 26 award nominations. Gina’s award recognitions include Golden Globes, Gold Derby Awards, Image Awards, Critics Choice Television Awards, and a few others. Out of her 26+ award nominations, she has won at least nine of them, including a Golden Globe Award.
Gina Rodriguez’s Acting Career Has Made Her Rich
Similar to her career trajectory, Gina Rodriguez has seen a significant boost in her net worth since her breakthrough as Jane Villanueva. Based on calculations by Celebrity Net Worth, she has amassed an estimated net worth of $5 million, made primarily from her role in the musical-comedy.
Despite her rising wealth, Gina insists acting is not about money-making for her. This conviction resonates in her choice of projects, where she plays progressive characters rather than Latina stereotypes. She also uses her platform in service of various acts of philanthropy.
She is a Multi-Faceted Philanthropist
Relatively speaking, Gina Rodriguez is young, and so is her career as a Hollywood actress. But none of that is keeping her from becoming a soldier in the fight for social progress. She has collaborated with organizations like PACER’s, working to stamp out bullying as well as those trying to provide girls with access to menstrual products.
She also collaborates with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. A former beneficiary of the fund, Gina joined the fund’s board of directors in March 2015. She has the intention of expanding its reach and provide opportunities to Latinos in more meaningful ways.
Similarly, in 2018, Gina used her Emmy nomination campaign funds to pay for the full tuition of an undocumented Latina student. She also has a production company called I Can & I Will. The company focuses on Latina-themed projects and aims to help more Latinas achieve a career in filmmaking.
In addition to these, she is a partner of Naja, a lingerie line focused on helping women and the environment. The vertically-integrated company uses savings from its business model to fund school books, uniforms, and lunches for its employees’ children.
Gina Rodriguez also partnered with other artists on the single, Almost like Praying. Proceeds from the single went to relief efforts in Puerto Rico in response to the effects of Hurricane Maria. In recognition of her work as a philanthropist, she has been named among Oprah’s SuperSoul 100.
Gina Married Joe LoCicero in 2019
Gina Rodriguez is married to Joe LoCicero. They met in 2016 after he guest-starred as a stripper on an episode of Jane the Virgin. She regularly gushes about her love for her ‘king’ on social media, and they often attend award ceremonies together.
Her husband, Joe, is an MMA fighter, actor, and model. Aside from his guest role on Gina’s show, he has starred on independent films like Spagettiman and Welcome to Willits. He also appeared on the Amazon Prime movie, Cop Chronicles.
As an MMA fighter, he has won a few amateur competitions like the California State Middleweight title as the Muay Thai Champion.
After two years of dating, the lovely couple got engaged in July 2018. A year after their engagement, they got married on May 5, 2019. Since the couple got married, they have continued to share the joy of marital bliss.