"My parents really encouraged us to have confidence and accept who we are," the actress tells PEOPLE
Gina Rodriguez knows she’s not perfect.
“I work in an industry where I am constantly being told, ‘You’re not skinny enough. You’re not tall enough. You’re not ethnic enough,’ ” the Jane the Virgin star tells PEOPLE. “Being constantly told that you are not enough can wear down any woman – any person, period.”
But Rodriguez has always been able to turn to her parents – Puerto Ricans who moved to Chicago to raise Rodriguez, 30, and her two older sisters – for inspiration when she’s feeling down.
“My father was always very honest with us – and maybe crude at times. He prepared us for the game that is society,” she says of her dad Gino, who is a prominent representative for the Teamsters. “He prepared us to be able to look at billboards and magazines and say, ‘This is not the only body type that is beautiful.’ He would encourage us to find our beauty and love our beauty and accept our beauty as what God gave us.”
“My mom is so beautiful and never wears any makeup. She would say, ‘You want a man to love you for who you are, not what you look like or what you’re covered up by,’ ” Rodriguez says of her mother Magali, who rose through the ranks of the Cook County Court from secretary to director of the interpreters. “My parents really encouraged us to have confidence in who we are and accept who we are because it is not going to change and we are beautiful.”
And now the Golden Globe winner has another person in her life to help combat the pressures of Hollywood beauty standards.
“I may not be skinny enough for [some] roles, but I do just fine in real life,” says the actress, who has been dating actor Henri Esteve since early last year. “He’s my partner in crime and super supportive.”
At the end of the day, Rodriguez knows she can look within for the confidence she needs.
“As a woman in this industry, we are constantly being pressured to look a certain way and to get our hair and nails and makeup done and live up to these images that aren t conducive to a healthy mind,” she says. “But I have to remember that this is a game. And if the game says I should be looking like this, then I just don’t play that role. And that’s okay.”
For more of our interview with Gina Rodriguez pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now