Gina Rodriguez is using her 2018 Emmy campaign money to send an undocumented student to collegeJune 19, 2018
Every year in advance of the Emmy nominations, TV networks and studios shell out massive sums of money on campaigns to promote their submitted creatives and shows. The promotions, aptly labeled “For Your Consideration” (or FYC), can range from billboards and bus ads around Los Angeles and New York to show-branded swag and screeners sent to TV Academy members. It’s an expensive process, and it often fails to pay off. This year, Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez has convinced The CW that 2018’s FYC money for the show would be better spent funding a college scholarship for an undocumented Latinx student.
Per the Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez — who has served on the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s board of directors since 2015 — worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles to find the perfect candidate, an unnamed Latina high school student who will be attending Princeton University in the fall. The Hollywood Reporter says the scholarship will cover all four years of her education.
Though Rodriguez told the Hollywood Reporter that she hesitated about going public with the decision, Jane the Virgin is one of several series (including Netflix’s One Day at a Time reboot) that have highlighted the stories and challenges of undocumented immigrants in America over the past few years. In that way, the scholarship still effectively functions as a promotion of the show’s values while serving a greater (and vastly more urgent) purpose.
“I think sharing this might inspire other people to do something similar,” she explained. “You can desire recognition and, at the same time, decide to not play in the confines of the game as it’s set up.”
Criminally, Rodriguez has never been nominated for an Emmy; she won a Golden Globe in 2015 and received nominations in 2016 and 2017 for her work on Jane the Virgin. The show returns for its fifth and final season in 2019.
Though it’s unclear whether Rodriguez’s scholarship student is a DACA or DREAM Act beneficiary, it’s worth noting that several immigration bills are currently being debated in Congress that would determine the fate of over 1 million undocumented young people.