Gina Rodriguez makes her way across The Tasting Kitchen, a popular hot spot on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California. Wearing a vintage white flowing crocheted maxi dress, her black hair tousled, she looks carefree and happy, but as soon as she slides into the booth, she immediately bends over, clutching her side. “I just had an IUD placed, and I’m in incredible pain,” she admits. “I legitimately want to just keep squeezing my pelvis right now.” It’s that kind of refreshing honesty that has elevated the 32-year-old Jane the Virgin star to cult status among her fans. She may be in pain, but more than anything, Rodriguez is a fighter.
Growing up in a largely Polish and Latino neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Rodriguez was raised by dad Genaro, a teamster rep who rose to union vice president, and mom Magali, a secretary who worked her way up to director of interpreters at Cook County court. Theirs was the classic story of the immigrant experience: They were close to their neighbors, worked all the time, and lived in a neighborhood that was both family-oriented and limited in opportunities. In their community, where many boys ended up in gangs and girls as teenage mothers, education wasn’t always a priority—survival was. Rodriguez’s parents, who came from Puerto Rico, were determined to provide a better life for their three first-generation daughters, making