This empowering women interview is truly a dream come true, it’s not everyday that I get to connect with someone that has influenced me since my teenage years as Andrea Navedo did! You will be empowered as she shares her toughest moments and set backs that led her to be the successful actress she is today from being on a hit Prime-Time show to an upcoming Netflix Original. It’s all about making your dreams come true and never giving up!
I can remember seeing Andrea Navedo on one of my favorite soap operas “One Life to Live” as I was just graduating high school in ‘95, I loved seeing a Latina on one of my favorite soaps! Always following her through her long career in TV/Movies I was ecstatic when I found out there was going to be a new prime time show on the CW with the main cast being Latinos! After all we lost The George Lopez Show and The Cristela Show wasn’t given much of a chance….But Jane the Virgin was exactly what I was missing, it’s funny, it’s emotional, it’s relatable and the cast is phenomenal! How awesome to see a Andrea, a Puerto Rican born actress starring on this amazing show that just was renewed for a 4th season on the CW! Seeing her come so far in her career from soap operas to movies, to prime time T.V. to recently producing her first on stage show and being cast in a huge Netflix Original Thriller! All while dealing with the everyday of being a mom and wife just shows how empowering Andrea Navedo really is. I was so honored to have a moment of her time to interview and thank her for being a positive Latina in our world today!
M: It so amazing to see Latina’s in lead roles in Prime-Time T.V. on a fabulous show like “Jane the Virgin” It’s absolutely empowering for me and my daughter to have this in our present day! I’m sure growing up in New York, you had the vibe of Broadway all around you. When did you realize that you wanted to be an actress and how hard was it to break through and barriers you faced in the acting world?
Andrea: Thank you so much, you know I needed role models when I was growing up too and there weren’t many, so I completely get the sentiment and being on Jane the Virgin makes me feel very proud because I know that I’m sort of being the reflection along with Gina (Gina Rodriguez) and Ivonne (Ivonne Coll) that people have been so hungry to see for a very long time. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, and there wasn’t that many around for me to look up to. So I did want to be an actress when I was a kid but I didn’t think it was a realistic possibility. It wasn’t until I went to college that I made myself go to an audition and I ended up getting the part, to my amazement! After I did the play I was so in love and it was then I declared theater as my major and have been acting ever since.
M: I think the relationship between, Alba, Xiomara and Jane is a huge part of the shows success as they are very relatable to so many women across all backgrounds. Is Xiomara anything like Andrea “the mom” or remind you of anyone in your family? What do you love the most about playing Xiomara?
Andrea: It’s not far from home for me to play Xo, She’s a lot more outgoing an extroverted in all kinds of ways which I am not, but it’s fun to play that… something that your not..right, so I love that part! But the easy part for me is the relationships because I can easily relate to Gina as my daughter and Ivonne as my mom because I grew in a family where the women were the matriarchs and the ones that ran the show. My grandmother who is going to be 94 next month was the center, and my mom and aunts were the bread winners and my other aunt served in the military. These were the examples that I grew up with and we needed each other, we didn’t have our male counterparts to rely on, so I totally get all of that!
M. I saw that you recently spoke at an event for the Global Symposium on Gender in Media, which I think is an amazing organization, I advocate See Jane.org as well. As an actress that has played a variety of characters, how do you feel about gender equality in media and what type of changes would like to see made?
Andrea: Well there are definitely a lot more female roles so I’m excited about that. I think over the years we as a people, Latinos and/or people of color have been chipping away at the in-equality in the media and Jane the Virgin happens to be one of those sledgehammer moments that has really broken ground for a lot more diversity which I’m so grateful to be apart of.
M: Congratulations on being signed on to star in your first Netflix Original “Bright” playing a very different character then Xo. I think it’s going to be great seeing you in a thriller? Are you nervous at all on taking on this very different role?
Andrea: It was amazing and very intense, because it’s a very macho film. It’s got Will Smith and Joel Edgerton who are just manly men and the director is David Ayer, he’s done all these macho films. It was interesting to go from Xo who is so feminine into this role where I play a cop, so it’s really exciting! It should be out in December 2017.
M: Your career is super busy which is amazing and such a blessing. But you did take time off to be with your family. How hard was it to get back in & manage the mommy/wife home life with such a busy career?
Andrea: Part of it was I really wanted to be home with my kids, it was comfortable, they were little and required so much and the thought of needing a babysitter all the time didn’t sit well with me. But to be honest, this was an excuse on some level, deep down inside I knew in my heart that I had given up on my career. I was not where I thought I would be at that age and I also had made some choices out of fear, like not moving out to LA, so it was convenient for me to fall back on “Oh, I just want to stay home with my kids”. To be straight up honest, and this is not an easy thing for me to say but its true, I went into a very deep depression after my agents at the time let me go because they told me I wasn’t making enough money and it was a huge wake up call! It wasn’t until a good friend of mine reached out to me about playing a part in his off-Broadway play, I read the script and it was incredible, I could not pass it up. It was after our first rehearsal that I literally turned to my friend with tears in my eyes and said “thank you for this, I forgot all about this side of myself” This was a rekindling for me of this passion that I thought the flame had gone out.
After I quit, there was an awakening and I invested in my career like I have not done before, and I got myself out of it!
M: What have you learned about yourself from being on Jane the Virgin?
Andrea: Through being on Jane the Virgin, I learned that my acting career is bigger than myself. I initially started out to do it for myself because it was fulfilling to me to act, imagine and pretend to be somebody else. I’ve met so many people who say “this show is so important to me” or “I feel included” and I feel that way too. Even though I’m playing the role… I feel included too because of the reception that we’ve gotten and the fact that these characters were even written, I feel included! It gives me motivation when people like you say “I’ve been watching you for so long” all those years when I thought I wasn’t doing so great and you were watching and admiring me…I had no idea. This is how I realized my acting career was bigger than myself and it’s an opportunity to not only do something for myself but to do something for others.
It’s important to not to give up, yes we all have kids or families but its not an excuse!
It was such an empowering experience to have this opportunity to speak with Andrea. What I learned is, we all share the same types struggles as women, stress, giving up, playing all the roles in life. What’s most important is that you always keep on going, never -ever give up on your dreams!
You can follow Andrea on social media and of course see her on Jane the Virgin Mondays 9pm/8pm (C)
Photo credit: Diana Ragland