Known as the “Oscars of Young Hollywood,” the Young Hollywood Awards on July 27 toasted the brightest trailblazing stars in music, TV, and film at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.
It was a who’s who of young Hollywood – from Vanessa Hudgens to Ansel Elgort to Justin Bieber – but the one I was most excited about was Gina Rodriguez, our Variety Latino Rising Star of the Year honoree.
This fall, Gina makes history as the first Latina lead on the CW with her very own show, “Jane The Virgin,” a heartwarming new comedy about a 23-year-old girl with big dreams who gets pregnant after being artificially inseminated – accidentally!
We are so excited about the work Gina Rodriguez is doing in Hollywood and want to recognize that with this honor. She is smart, driven, uplifting, and empowering, and so are the characters she plays on the big and small screen, sending a clear message to Latina girls everywhere that they, too, are represented, and their stories are worth telling, too. Her being the first Latina lead on the CW with “Jane The Virgin” is groundbreaking, but it’s only the beginning. She is someone we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Don’t miss “Jane The Virgin” premiering October 13 on the CW.
Jenni Rivera was never just a singer. She was a savvy businesswoman with her own real estate company, her own line of jeans, cosmetics, fragrances, and more. Recently, she had begun to build an impressive TV resume, as producer of several reality shows on mun2, including one centered on her own life, I Love Jenni. Her next TV project was to be a scripted comedy series in development for ABC, based loosely on her life.
Film was the next frontier for Rivera, and judging by her performance in the hip-hop driven indie drama Filly Brown, there’s no telling how far she could have gone as an actress.
Edward James Olmos, who served as executive producer on the film – which was written and directed by his son Michael D. Olmos and Youssef Delara – calls Rivera’s performance “Oscar-worthy.”
Rivera is hardly recognizable in the film, having shed her usual glammed up hair and make-up for the chola-inspired look of a drug-addicted, imprisoned mother whose daughter (Gina Rodriguez) turns to rapping to help bust her out of jail.
I had the chance to interview Rivera in January during the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered to critical praise. She talked about going the Mariah Carey route in Precious, and how she managed to bring her character to life. It was such an honor to meet her in person and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
Watch the video interview on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where it was originally posted.