Gina Rodriguez stars as Majo Tonorio in "Filly Brown", in theaters now!
What advice would you give to young girls that aspire to become actresses?
My number one advice is get the best education you can get. You want to be an actress, respect the craft and those that came before you by getting a foundation in technique. The business is tough enough and when the industry goes against everything you may stand for, the one thing you have and that can never be taken away from you is your education! I feel so proud to say I studied at New York University-Tisch School of the Arts. I understand attending a big school that financially can feel out of your grasp may weigh down on you, but know there are people out there who can help, resources and loans to make your education dream a reality!
Do you identify with the challenges that Filly Brown goes through getting into the entertainment industry?
Sadly, yes. Filly Brown goes through many challenges and difficult decision making and when they are founded on lies they do not hold up. So it is important to me to practice that lesson by sticking to truth and morality in an industry that can at times be convoluted by falsities.
Does the remarkable Gina Rodriguez rap in real life? And if so, will there be a soundtrack available as well?
Hahaha I love "the remarkable Gina Rodriguez". Truly making this Puerto Rican blush. I do rap. The greatest gift Filly Brown gave me besides a new family was the art of rap/music. I never did music prior but you best believe I do now and music will soon hit your ears!
What inspires you to do what you do?
The idea that I can do what I love every day, and be a contributing factor to the positive portrayal and advancement of my people. I am inspired at the opportunity to be a role model for others who I share similar stories with, and create emotions and perspective in those I do not. I am inspired by the beauty of change and creating empowerment in others.
What life lessons can viewers, especially Latinos, extract from Filly Brown?
The truth is that the life lessons are universal. They don't affect any ethnic group more than the next. Filly Brown could be African American, Asian American, Caucasian, anyone that understands what it’s like to fight for your dreams, family and one’s happiness can relate. But what Filly Brown does do for Latinos is it gives us an opportunity to have a film with a universal tale that just so happens to be told from the Latino American perspective. If Filly Brown succeeds it will be that much easier for the next Latino film to be green-lit, supported and made, and if it does well then Hollywood will take notice. The kind of notice Latinos deserve!
How does the cast of the movie feel about the great impact Latinos are making in Hollywood?
I feel so blessed to be seeing the slow transition of Latinos in Hollywood started by our predecessors. Actors like Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos and Lupe Ontiveros who paved waves for Latinos. We now carry a responsibility to continue the fight to creating a place for Latinos in Hollywood. Filly Brown, I pray, can contribute to that movement in creating positive role models in our culture.
If you could describe your character in Filly Brown in one word, what would it be and why?
Fearless. Because it's the only way to live.