'Jane the Virgin' star speaks to Brown University students

'Jane the Virgin' star speaks to Brown University students | Courtesy of Shutterstock
Actress Gina Rodriquez, known for her starring role as Jane Villaneuva on the CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” recently delivered a Brown Lecture Board talk to students at Brown University, speaking about positivity and self-determination.
 
Rodriguez told students how a mantra passed down from her father – “Today is a great day. I can and I will” – got her through her early years at New York University, where she was diagnosed with thyroid disease.
 
“I already have all these things against me,” said Rodriguez of her viewpoint at the time. “I’m broke, I’m brown, I don’t look like ladies in the movies, and I just wanted to be a leading lady.”
 
According to Rodriguez, realizing that those limitations were self-imposed was a major factor in her success today, and she urged the Brown students in attendance to be the heroes of their own stories.
 
“I used to think there was this entity that was telling me: ‘Oh, you’re Puerto Rican, you can’t pass,’” she said. “The truth is that that was all in my mind. All those boxes — all those borders and walls that people put up — those are imaginary … I’m the one who is going to decide what affects me and what doesn’t. I’m the one who is going to decide whether I give up or not. And I decided not to.”

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