Who do you look up to? I want to share a story about someone whom I admire. I was challenged to list 5-10 of my favorite writers, artists, actors, directors, or creators, choose one, and jump on Facebook Live to share our story with my friends. You can catch the LIVE video replay here.
When I was going through my list, I had a whole bunch of people come to mind. Some of those on my list were (in no particular order):
- Diana Gabaldon (author of Outlander series)
- Veronica Roth (author of Divergent series),
- Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight, Fast & Furious franchise, Blue Crush, S.W.A.T., Machete)
- Denzel Washington (Fences, Man on Fire, Equalizer, Remember the Titans, Malcolm X, Fallen, and much more)
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Moana, Walking Tall, Snitch, Faster, Fast & Furious)
- Christopher Nolan (director of Memento, Batman Begins, Inception, Dark Night Rises, etc)
- Ken "LedKilla" Lashley (The Man, The Myth, The Legend
- Barry McClain (#BurnLeadTilYaDead penciler for the Wild Card Chronicles and many other projects
- Kuen Tang (letterer for the Wild Card Chronicles and the first quadraplegic to letter for DC Comics)
- John McAdams (founder of Jokers Revenge, creator of the Wild Card Chronicles, and owner of the Burning Spear)
Today, I want to tell you why I respect actor Michelle Rodriguez. (I'll tell you more about the others in future posts). Michelle's most popular role was Leti Ortiz in the Fast and Furious franchise. However, I first fell in love with her in Girlfight, an independent film released in 2000. Michelle played a character named Diana, a moody and troubled teenager from Brooklyn who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the disapproval of both her father and her prospective trainers and competitors in the male-dominated sport of boxing. At the time, women weren't seen a lot in boxing so it was controversial for a woman to want to "stand in the ring" with men in such an aggressive arena. Diana trained and became the champion of that story by proving the naysayers wrong. She didn't listen to the negative voices. Instead, she focused on her training and the task at hand. Diana appealed to me because I am surrounded by males at work and in my personal life.
Michelle also played Leti Ortiz, a bad ass street racer who is the only woman who is a part of a crew of men (actually more like a family) in the Fast and Furious franchise. Leti is often underestimated because she's a woman, but she doesn't whine and cry about it. Instead, she uses the arrogance of men to win street races and she is also the strong Alpha female married to protagonist Dominic Torreto. Despite being surrounded by a sea of beautiful women, Dominic's loyalty and devotion is to Leti.
Michelle's two roles appealed to me because they were females in a male-dominated sport/environment. Michelle particularly appeals to me because she is not the typical female at all, even as a person outside of her acting. She's kinda edgy and she's different ... she's not what society expects of a woman or how they try to limit your potential by confining you to a box. She also rides motorcycles and that's something we have in common. I read an article about the roles that Michelle chooses. Typically in movies, actors don't like to get typecast into specific types of roles because its generally a bad thing. Michelle said she didn't care about being typecast. In fact, she chooses roles based on a specific typecast - female, tomboy, not average, who is surviving and thriving in male dominated environments. She also says that she wanted to take roles that meant something to her. It's not about the acting and being paid to be an actor. She chooses roles that have a deeper message...this I could definitely relate to.
I found another article about an independent film called Tomboy where Michelle plays a male assassin who was forced into a sex change to become a female. On Michelle's Instagram profile she tells her fans that "in retrospect I'm I glad took the plunge [to be in Tomboy], the industry seems to be running low on edgy creativity & 'real take a chance' controversy, sometimes it makes me want to scream, instead I did what I always do when I'm bored with the 'status quo', I shoot crazy b movie Indy [independent films] to express my frustration." I hear you, Michelle. Being status-quo average bores the hell out of me too!!!
Michelle says that she is here to make a statement about female empowerment and strength which is something that I am definitely passionate about as well. I absolutely LOVE to showcase the value of women and the unique skills and perspectives they bring to the table, empowering women to rise to their full potential, and show the strength they pull out of themselves daily. Whether a single mom or married with children, women have an important leadership role in the family unit and in the work force. #SuperMom #TheRealSuperWoman #HeroOfTheDay