Like all of us, Gina Rodriguez‘s body has changed over time. And while she has a loving relationship with her figure today, she wasn’t always a fan of her developing curves, especially when it came to voices in Hollywood telling her how she should and shouldn’t look.
The 33-year-old actress recently opened up to Shape magazine, revealing that she developed body insecurities in her early years in Hollywood because she didn’t fit into a “sample size.”
“It can be difficult to have a good relationship with your body when outside forces are telling you what you should look like,” Rodriguez said. “The reality is that there’s a huge spectrum of body shapes, and we need to celebrate all of them… As an actress there are so many pressures to look a certain way and to fit into a sample size.”
Rodriguez’s body began changing more rapidly when she started learning Muay Thai, a popular combat sport in Thailand that uses clinching techniques. She credited the sport to helping her feel “stealthy and quick,” especially after she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid and results in symptoms like fatigue and muscle pain. “Doing Muay Thai taught me so much about my body. Now I view it as an engine that keeps me active and healthy,” she said.
And while Rodriguez was growing stronger with her new fitness pasttime, she wasn’t initially happy with the way her body was bulking up. It wasn’t until a conversation with her boyfriend that she began accepting her body’s natural changes. “As a result, my body changed immediately. I couldn’t fit into certain clothes, and I was a little curvier,” she said. “Before, I would have beaten myself up. But my boyfriend gave me some great advice. He said, ‘Don’t be angry with your body—it changed because your routine shifted.’ And that was like a gift.”
Now, Rodriguez has a more realistic outlook on her body. She understands that when she’s working and shooting her CW show, “Jane the Virgin,” from day to night, her body will naturally change because she won’t have as much time to work out—something she’s okay with. “I’ve got to embrace the fact that when I’m shooting ‘Jane,’ I can’t work out as much. My body is going to look different, and that’s okay. I’m not willing to wring the joy from my life to kill myself in the gym,” she said.
Rodriguez ended with advice to women about pursuing their dreams, whether career, fitness, or otherwise. “I’m living my dream,” she said. “I want to say to women who are reading this story, try anything you want. You’re strong and durable.”