Gina Rodriguez isn’t your typical actress or cover star. Besides starring in the hit TV series Jane the Virgin, this 31-year-old Golden Globe winner is an advocate for social justice issues like diversity in television and body positivity. She’s also living with Hashimoto’s disease, which impacts the thyroid and causes chronic fatigue and weight gain.

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Gina is known for channeling her pain and frustrations into her art, and harnessing her inner strength to stand up for her beliefs in interviews and on social media.

Women’s Health

“I’m trying to use my social media as a way to communicate that I’m flawed and that I’m okay with it,” Gina tells Women’s Health. “It’s a very strange feeling to be okay with a little cellulite or a little extra anything. I don’t look at it and feel terrified anymore, and my confidence changed because of that. I carry myself differently.”

“It’s like we women consciously decide we’re going to be mean to ourselves,” she observes. “But you’re your own hero, not some image you can’t live up to.”

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That confidence has allowed her to push back against body shamers, and defy the societal norms that tell her she must look a certain way to be a leading actress in Hollywood. But Gina admits she hasn’t always taken great care of her body. “I would almost not be conscientious about my health because I wanted to be accepted the way I was—as curvy,” she says.

Women’s Health

Now, with Hashimoto’s disease in her life, and aspirations for a long, inspiring career, Gina’s putting on her boxing gloves andtaking charge of her own destiny.

“I feel like boxing is very much like acting, except you’re just fighting yourself,” says Gina. “You’re not allowing yourself to be defeated, you’re getting up after you’ve been knocked down, and you have to believe that you can win.”

Learn more about Gina Rodriguez’s take on body shamers, bullies, and how she stays grounded in the May issue of Women’s Health, available on newstands April 19.

Gina Rodriguez Shares Her Secrets to Staying Balanced

Photo: Stella Artois

Jane the Virgin fans will be happy to know that Gina Rodriguez has a lot in common with the crazy-likable woman she plays on the show. For one, she’s driven as hell, in case her now-famous 2015 Golden Globes speech pronouncing “I can and I will” didn’t already make that clear.

But underneath the drive, she’s also eternally grateful for the supportive women in her life (“they’re the reason I’m here today,” she says), passionate about her community (watch her rap to raise money for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico), and incredibly classy amidst conflict (“I’m working on empathy”).

Even with an insane schedule, energy-zapping Hashimoto’s disease, and a commitment to high-intensity Muay Thai training, she still knows how to prioritize relaxation, especially when it involves good food, drinks, and the people closest to her. We spoke to her about all of the above as part the Stella Artois “Host One to Remember” series. Here’s what the Jane star had to say:

Female relationships are really freakin’ important.

The heart of Jane isn’t the quippy narrator or dramatic plotline; it’s the strong relationships between the female characters, particularly between Jane, her mother, and her grandmother.

Gina can relate: “Anyone who knows my heart knows that I’m about my ladies and the women around me who uplift me, who have created so many opportunities and paved the way for me,” she says. “I was surrounded by women growing up, and in all honesty, they’re the reason why I’m here today, hands down.”

Image zoom Photo: Stella Artois

There’s an unexpected downside to dieting.

“It’s important to celebrate my successes with the people around me,” she says. “Eating, drinking, and toasting are big parts of my family gatherings.”

And you can’t enjoy these beautiful moments if you’re on a super-strict diet or constantly worried about the number on the scale. “I think body positivity is important because it frees up a lot of worrying and a lot of stress we spend on it daily,” she told us (Gina Rodriguez Wants You to Love Your Body Through All Its Ups and Downs). “Instead, put all that time and energy into doing the things you want to do and making your dreams come true.” Once you achieve those dreams? “Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy it,” she says.

Healthy foods keep her energy up.

“Fatigue is already an issue with Hashimoto’s, and some scenes can really take a lot out of you,” she says. “That’s a by-product of the job, so I keep my energy up by being conscientious about the food I put in my body-eating more fiber and vegetable protein.” That’s not to say she follows a restrictive eating plan though. “I eat healthily and work out, so I don’t worry about having a red velvet cupcake or slice of pizza.”

Don’t fight hate with hate.

“Hurt people hurt other people. I’m constantly striving to be more empathetic, so when someone says something that isn’t kind, I try to picture the pain they’re going through. The only time I’ve ever been mean to others is when I haven’t slept or haven’t eaten, so I can only imagine what someone is going through if they’re being so mean.”

  • By Kiera Carter

Gina Rodriguez is best known for her award-winning role in “Jane the Virgin,” but the actress, producer and activist has long championed many causes, especially education. Her latest mission is bringing an end to what is known as “period poverty” and its effect on young women’s school attendance and educational opportunities.

Nearly one in five girls in the U.S. have had to miss or leave school because they lacked access to products such as sanitary napkins during their menstrual period, in large part due to economic factors, according to a survey commissioned by Always. Rodriguez partnered with the brand to bring attention to the period poverty epidemic through the #EndPeriodPoverty campaign, which aims to donate 15 million period products to school pantry programs across the U.S.

“Education is the end all, be all. It is the reason I am here today, it is the reason I have had the opportunities that I have had,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez recalled how her education shaped her successful artistic journey. During her sophomore year of high school, Rodriguez’s religious studies teacher taught her about the role of the griot, or storyteller, in West African cultures. Had she missed that class, which inspired her to use acting as storytelling, her trajectory may have been very different, said Rodriguez.

The focus on how menstruation can unfortunately limit girls’ and women’s lives around the world — from the lack of products to cultural taboos, has gained traction. Recently Meghan Markle, who earlier this year married Britain’s Prince Harry, brought attention to the issue in India. In the U.S., women are pushing state legislatures to ensure access to products in places like prisons; New York City became the first to require free tampons and sanitary pads in correctional facilities, public schools and homeless shelters.

For Rodriguez, ensuring that young girls in the U.S. have access to products during their periods is doable.

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“I want to bridge that gap. I want to end that statistic that we have here in this country. And we are capable of doing this,” she said. “One of the biggest blessings about being an actor is that you’re given a platform that you can speak on things that matter to you,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to advocating for girls’ health and education, Rodriguez has been outspoken in her support for Puerto Rico relief efforts and the efforts to reunite migrant children and parents separated by the Trump administration.

During the aftermath of Puerto Rico’s hurricane devastation, Rodriguez was among the Latino artists and actors featured in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying” music video; the proceeds went to benefit relief efforts through the Hispanic Federations’ Unidos Disaster Relief Fund.

Nearly 11 months after Hurricane Maria, the U.S. territory is still struggling to rebuild. Rodriguez has used social media to encourage relief efforts and to remind Americans that the island needs help.

“It’s important for us to have these conversations, to normalize these conversations,” said Rodriguez. “The devastation that’s happening in Puerto Rico doesn’t have to be a devastation. There are so many people that can help.”

Throughout the border crisis, Rodriguez has been active on Twitter, advocating for migrant families to be reunited and empowering people to get involved.

“Unification is the only way in which Latinos can rise in this country positively and successfully,” said Rodriguez. “We must protect those that are being hurt on the border, that are being hurt all over our country, no matter what ethnicity they are, no matter what culture they come from. Latinos have the opportunity to unite and be very powerful.”

Championing roles for Latinos

Rodriguez has also been an advocate for the Latino community when it comes to representation in television and film. In 2017, Rodriguez created her own production company, I Can and I Will, with one goal in mind — to get more Latino representation in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera.

“I was twelve years old and I did not see myself on the screen,” said Rodriguez. “We were never really full or multidimensional. We couldn’t be feminine and masculine all in one.”

So Rodriguez spoke about creating her own path.

“I created those spaces myself. And I will continue to create those places so other young men and women of Latino descent can have a place to play and realize we are in every facet of life, just like everyone else,” said Rodriguez. “We feel, just like everyone else. And the human story is just that, human.”

A recent study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that minority representation in Hollywood is scarce. The study found that 64 of the top 100 films from 2017 did not include a single Latina character, 65 were missing Asian females and 43 were devoid of any black female characters.

The actress and advocate exhorted Latinos to support Hispanics producing and starring in films and television. After all, she said, Latinos have purchasing power, and they can send a message by supporting Hispanics in the arts.

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Meredith’s Shape magazine spent the last year thinking over and creating its own evolution. Shape, which is published 10 times a year, reaches a rate base of 2.5 million and an audience of 14 million across platforms, focuses on healthy living for the 21st century woman. The magazine, which was launched in 1981, underwent a redesign which touched on every aspect of the brand – from its content, to design, fonts, advertisers and voice. The new look debuted April 17 on newsstands with the May issue which featured actress Kate Mara on the cover.

A fresh new look

The redesigned Shape has an expanded and more diverse mix of content, including features on influencers and real women. It approaches women’s lifestyle in a healthy, holistic way, incorporating in beauty and style, nutrition, health and relationships that can be personalised for their readers’ individual lives. It also has an updated, modern feel to it, with sleek fonts and a sophisticated aesthetic.

“It was just time to evolve,” explained editor-in-chief Elizabeth Goodman Artis. “I had just hired a new creative director, Noah Dreier, from Glamour, and he came in with a bunch of ideas about how to redesign the magazine. I also hired a lifestyle director, Brooke Danielson, who came with great ideas. We started talking about what we could do better.”


Elizabeth Goodman Artis

The redesign process started as a completely creative endeavor, Goodman Artis said. “Once we started to formulate what the plan was and I had the architecture of what I wanted to do with this down, we shared it with our sales and marketing team, who really connected with it and saw opportunities,” she said. From there, the process was collaborative across the Shape brand, from editorial, to marketing and sales.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced in my career,” Goodman Artis said. “We started conceptualising this last summer, but we wanted to take our time and get it right. We were creative yet methodical.”

“It’s been really wonderful to see how much people are connecting with the ideas”

In the three months and three issues since the redesign was launched, the response from advertisers and readers has been positive, the editor explained. “We have had an amazingly positive response from the advertising community,” she said. “The sales calls I’ve been on, they get it, they’re engaged, whether it’s an agency or a client, it’s been really wonderful to see how much people are connecting with the ideas, the philosophy, the look of this evolved Shape.”

Readers have also told Goodman Artis, on her personal Instagram account, how much they love the new look and feel. “We’ve gotten amazing responses,” she said. “One woman told me it brought her to tears because she feels we understand what women want today. We have had letters and emails, that have been applauding us.”

The advertiser response has been to jump on board. Goodman Artis explained that Shape had almost two dozen new advertisers in the beauty, retail/fashion, beverages, pharma, household, food and supplements categories.

“They like the way we’re talking to women”

Goodman Artis noted the results of Shape’s first consumer study were overwhelmingly positive. The study asked readers to provide feedback about the new look and feel of the May issue of Shape, and the Starch results suggested that readers really liked the content and advice across all categories.

Shape’s new edit sections received top ratings from readers, and drove them to take action. “Readers are connecting with the new look, and they love the new voice and the new tonality,” she said. “They like the way we’re talking to women now.”

Indeed, one of the big things Goodman Artis wanted to do with this redesign was to change the way the brand spoke to women. Prior to the redesign, the middle of the magazine had sections like “Eat Right” and “Look Great,” and “Get Fit,” which were fine, but too direct and almost a command to perform, she explained. “They feel judgmental, and I wanted to change that dynamic,” Goodman Artis said.

Instead, they used the verb to be in their section titles – Be Waterproof focuses on beauty, Be Food Curious is a different way of talking about food than “Eat Right,” instead “Be Food Curious,” is inviting the reader to be in the moment, to experience the content and make it their own,” she said. “We don’t want to dictate, we want to support and we want to give our readers the kind of information they can take and make useful for themselves, that they’re excited about.

Changing the tonality of the magazine’s voice was an important first step in the evolution, as it changed the magazine in a subtle way. “The way we talk to each other, the words we use, really dictate our emotions and how we feel, so I wanted to use language that felt fresh and new and modern to draw the reader in.”

Shape magazine’s cover lines also changed – evolving from the “get flat abs” or “lose five pounds in five minutes” classic women’s magazine newsstand-driven way – to something else entirely.

“As the industry has changed and as we evolved, I didn’t want to write those kinds of cover lines anymore,” Goodman Artis explained. “I don’t want to reduce women to body parts. That’s important to me. I want to be honest with them. It’s about the whole person, it’s not about your abs, butt, thighs, arms, it’s about you.”

From there, that idea cascaded through the entire magazine.

Visually, the redesigned Shape magazine is lighter. Its pages embody healthy living, from mouth-watering recipes to mental wellness. Even the ad pages have visuals of healthy skin and outdoor activities like paddle boarding. The use of light in the visuals is also something to note – from a play of light and shadow on the stunning Kate Mara cover, glinting off edible flowers in the May issue, or bouncing off a classic car in the background in the June issue. The new Shape is bold and playful with colour, embracing a multicolour stripe along the bottom of a sneaker or a rainbow of Dior eyeliners.

Shape magazine’s content underwent a redesign as well, with a more conversational tone to its features, and added context around healthy living beyond calorie burning and spandex. Shape’s redesigned content moves away from a directive telling readers what to do, to instead inviting them to experience with information that is customizable. “Everybody has different goals, everybody has a different life experience, and what I wanted to do is create content that our readers can take and customize to their lives.”

Goodman Artis and her team also added more perspectives, with real women, influencers and those in business. She wanted to get their points of view, their stories, their experiences, wanted to know what those women were doing to feel happy and healthy and whole, she said.

“I felt like we were missing those voices,” the editor said. “We added columns in each section for each. For example, in our beauty section which we call ‘Be Waterproof,’ there is a column called ‘What Makes You Pretty Happy.’”

Shape’s next chapter

Forward from July, Goodman Artis said the Shape team is still tinkering with the redesign, adding more columns and looking for fresh talent. “We’re continuing to evolve and wait for reader reaction, and continue to try to get new business prospects. And get everyone excited about it as much as we possibly can.”

by Jessica Patterson @jesspatterson

Re-published by kind permission of FIPP, the network for global media

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Can I just say: Gina Rodriguez is goals. Not only is she super down-to-earth, but she’s also doing her part to make change in Hollywood—as the star of Jane the Virgin, Rodriquez has broken stereotype after stereotype, offering women a new, refreshing type of role model to look up to in popular media. Recently, I had a chance to talk to the actress at an event for her Clinique Difference Makers campaign, which encourages women to make a difference in the world. And when I asked Gina all about her now-famous TV role, she gave me hope that Hollywood is finally starting to accept the fact that beauty comes in so many different sizes and shapes. Because of course it does (and really, what took them so long?)!

We’ve all heard the horror stories of actresses fighting to maintain the perfect body and weight standards to work in Hollywood, or being told by producers or directors that they need to lose weight to get or keep a job. But Rodriguez says she actually had the opposite reception on Jane the Virgin. “After Jane shot the pilot and we got picked up, I got the hardcore flu,” she told me. “I lost 15 pounds—and I’m Puerto Rican, you don’t lose 15 pounds. I was emaciated.” The show’s higher-ups had a lot to say about the weight-loss—and not what you might expect. As Rodriguez tells it: “The head of my network and the show creator sit me down, and they were like, ‘Why have you lost weight? You know we love you the way you are. The way you were was perfect.’”

Rodriguez was amazed at that reaction, and inspired that it represented a step in the right direction, culturally. “What a beautiful world to live in where they loved me for who I was,” she explained. “And you do your best art when you are .” She says that as soon as she recovered from her flu, she was back to eating the foods she loves—like pancakes and chilaquiles. In her words: “They say I can eat, so I’m eating!”

That being said, there are some things Rodriguez avoids in her diet to stay healthy, especially since she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is a autoimmune thyroid disorder that can cause fatigue and weight gain. So she stays away from things like gluten, fluoride, and soy in an effort to keep herself feeling balanced, and she tries to work out every day, doing activities like boxing. “Beauty should not be chased but individually embraced,” she wrote on Instagram. “Health belongs to you and looks different for everyone. Your journey won’t look like mine and that’s OK because discovering your personal health goals is a lifelong commitment. In a society where we are bombarded by limited images of what defines beauty and strength, I am so grateful for those redefining and expanding those images.” Gina Rodriguez is one of those women reaffirming that truth.

You might also like: Here’s What We Learned About Gina Rodriguez On Her Glamour Cover Shoot

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Clinique

How Gina Rodriguez Learned to Stop Ignoring Her Hashimoto’s Disease and Put Her Health First

Gina Rodriguez was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at 19 and Hashimoto’s disease at 26, but she spent many of her adult years trying to pretend her health issues didn’t exist.

The Jane the Virgin star says the disease — which causes weight gain, memory issues, fatigue and more — felt too enormous to manage, so she didn’t try.

“To the core of my being, I know what it’s like to feel like there is no way I can win this, so where do I even begin,” Rodriguez, 33, told Self.com of her diagnosis.

But as her career soared — including big movie opportunities and the chance to direct — so did her stress levels, which added to her health problems.

“I’ve just recently started getting really debilitating panic attacks and anxiety,” Rodriguez said. She thought it was just general stress — “balancing reality with fiction, and reality with the bulls— of social media, the kind of psychological change that’s happening in our climate, period” — but she realized it was because she was taking too much thyroid medication, which led to heart palpitations and anxiety.

Image zoom Gina Rodriguez Rachel Murray/Getty

The panic attacks went away after she lowered her dosage, but Rodriguez remains frustrated with how much she has to worry about her disease.

“It is really important for us to be super self-aware,” she said. “I wasn’t banking on that. I wasn’t like, hey, yeah, let me get a disease that makes me have to be super aware. I don’t want to be super aware of myself all of the time.”

Still, the incident pushed Rodriguez to take control of her health.

“ affects so many aspects of your life. I’ve had it for so many years…that rebellion of not taking care of myself can’t exist anymore,” she said.

Rodriguez changed up her diet to better suit her body, like limiting dairy and gluten, and “so many of my ailments are gone. It feels like freedom. This is new. I’m 33. It’s taken me a while.” Though she admits that she “can’t say I’m on point, always on it, because, man, I’m flawed.”

Still, she made a major health change recently for the action movie Annihilation, out Feb. 23. The physical role required Rodriguez to slim down and bulk up, so she went vegan and took up weight lifting. She struggled internally with the idea of losing weight, because she’s generally against doing it to fit with a Hollywood stereotype, but says her boyfriend, actor Joe LoCicero, helped her get through her body image doubts.

“ has really helped me have a healthier perspective on , that stupid number that can destroy us and feel like it’s equivalent to our self-worth,” she says. “I’m not less than because I’m 10, 15, 20 pounds more.”

“Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez celebrated her 33rd birthday by showing off her buff body on social media. The actress has been fostering body positivity to her followers and fans after years of struggling with her weight.

“Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez has had weight loss problems since she was 19 due to an underlying condition. | Facebook/cwjanethevirgin

In a two-piece string bikini, Rodriguez shared a photo of herself on Instagram to welcome turning 33 last July 30. Followers raved on her post, with some saying she is their inspiration for embracing a healthy body.

I woke up 33 with james dean staring at me and a faux fur blanket keeping me warm. #FeelingMyOats

A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on Aug 1, 2017 at 12:41pm PDT

In 2016, Rodriguez told Health that she struggled with her weight because she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease at 19. The condition affected the thyroid gland which slowed down her metabolism.

Aside from staying off gluten and eating healthy to prevent her condition from worsening, Rodriguez makes an effort to keep her body fit through boxing. The actress grew up in the boxing ring because her father worked as a referee.

From her training, Rodriguez also learned to develop inner strength. She told Women’s Health that there are elements of boxing that are a lot like acting.

“You’re not allowing yourself to be defeated, you’re getting up after you’ve been knocked down, and you have to believe that you can win,” the actress said.

Meanwhile, season 4 of “Jane the Virgin” will have Rodriguez’s character doting on her new baby sister. Jane will love babysitting another child who will grow up with her 4-year-old son Mateo (Joseph Sanders).

“Jane the Virgin” season 3 wrapped up with the baby reveal in May, along with a few other explosive secrets. The CW comedy’s lead star will be starting season 4 over with a potential new love in Adam (Tyler Posey), who was briefly introduced in last season’s finale.

“Jane the Virgin” season 4 will premiere on Friday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.

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