Growing up in Chicago, actress Gina Rodriguez started performing at age seven with the salsa dance company Fantasia Juvenil. She went on to work with other companies including Los Soneros Del Swing, performing at several Salsa Congress’ in Chicago, California, New York and Puerto Rico. Gina knew she wanted to continue to perform and entertain and at age sixteen, Gina was one of thirteen teens to be accepted into Columbia University NY- Theatrical Collaboration taught by Richard Niles. For two months she wrote, directed and performed original work with twelve other kids brought from all over the world. She fell in love with New York and living in Gramercy Park, NYU called her name. Upon her acceptance to New York Universities- Tisch School of the Arts, her calling was clear, and theatre would be it.
Gina had four years of intense theatre training at both the Atlantic Theatre Company and Experimental Theatre Wing, working with both David Mamet and William H. Macy, the brilliant guidance of Rosemary Quinn and other wonderful professors. Directly after graduation, Gina booked her first lead role in the feature film TINY DANCER. After that, Gina originated the role of Frida Kahlo in the world premiere of Casa Blue: The Last Moments in the Life of Frida Kahlo at the American Stage Theatre. She continued to work in New York with multiple theatres and her work in film and TV steadily grew, including shows “Jonny Zero,” “Army Wives,” and “Law and Order,” in addition to several short and indie films. One in particular, Osvaldos, was accepted into festivals including ABFF, NY HBO Latino Film Fest, Chicago International Film Fest, Urbanworld. They named Gina winner of the “Best Actor” award at the First Run Film Festival in NY and Osvaldos aired on HBO in 2010 and was named on of the “Five Best Shorts.”
After many years of success and work in NY, Gina booked a lead role in a feature film GO FOR IT along side actress Aimee Garcia in which she received a 2011 Imagen Awards nomination. Shot in both Chicago and LA, once shooting in LA began, it was clear the move to the west coast was the next step for her career. Just five days after moving to California, Gina booked her first co-star role CBS’ “Eleventh Hour.” It didn’t stop there, within her first year, she went on to book series regular roles on web series “Eden’s Court” and “No Names,” and her first studio film “Our Family Wedding,” with America Ferrera, a lead in indie film SUPERCHICAS, and the ABC Family show “Ten Things I Hate About You.” Since then she has guest starred on the hit TV shows “The Mentalist,” “Happy Endings” and stars in the upcoming film CALIFORNIA WINTER among Ruttina Wesley.
Now, Gina is promoting her most exciting role to date. While screening GO FOR IT (distributed by Lionsgate) at last year’s LALIFF, she had the opportunity to meet with director, Michael Olmos, and producer, Victor Teran, who had just begun to work on their project FILLY BROWN. Michael and Victor were so impressed by Gina’s performance in GO FOR IT that they had her read for the title role. Originally, the role had been written as a spoken word artist, which was an area that Gina had experience, but upon meeting, they informed her that they were considering changing the part to a rapper. After an outstanding audition, in which Gina provided an impromptu rap performance, she had secured the lead and title role. Moving at an accelerated pace, Gina was in the studio recording music for the film within a few weeks. She collaborated with the music producers, E Dub and Khoolaid from Silent Giant, to come up with over five original songs for the film. After the film wrapped, E Dub and Khoolaid approached Gina about continuing their work with her and developing her into a rap artist. She has continued working with them and has now performed in Oklahoma City, OK and Odessa, TX, opening for Bun B from UGK.
Filly Brown now has been chosen as an Official 2012 Sundance Film Festival Selection.