The Villanueva women are thriving on Jane the Virgin right now, but they also prove how fully embracing womanhood and finding your way in the world can be as exciting as it is challenging. All of the women have taken major steps towards self-growth. Jane (Gina Rodriguez) finally loses her virginity and moves out of her family's house for the first time. Xo (Andrea Navedo) grapples with the reality that she may not be able to maintain a career as a singer, forcing herself to try a 9 to 5. Alba (Ivonne Coll) is a widow who earns a green card and a new job, yet still deals with the sting of her girls leaving the nest (Xo hasn't just yet, but she will, according to Coll). Navedo, Coll, and Eva Longoria (who's directed some recent episodes, including the one when Jane lost her virginity) explain how they can relate to coming into their own as women. Although it's an ongoing process, they validate how it's also a universal and empowering one.
Longoria says she was constantly surrounded by inspiring women her whole life, just like Jane. "Nine aunts, three sisters, an amazing mother," she says. "I had these amazing role models I didn't have to look far for." These women inspire Longoria to hold her own, even today.
"More and more in today's society, women are the breadwinners, getting an education, breaking out of the gender construct of what people said they should be. With that comes a lot of responsibility," says the 41-year-old. Taking charge of that responsibility, Longoria makes it a mission to help fellow women make their mark. She explains how the Eva Longoria Foundation gives women a helping hand in embracing their self worth and identifying what they want to do with their lives.
Navedo says she had a similar experience growing up. "I can totally relate. I grew up in a female-dominated household, my mother was a single mom raising me, she was also raised by her mom," she says. Navedo and the women in her family rule the show and take charge of their lives, no matter how difficult it can be at times. "It was always the women in my family who were going back to school, getting into the workforce, just making things happen. Putting food in our bellies and a roof over our heads," says the 39-year-old. She can relate to Xo and all the Villenueva women on a deeply personal level.
"[They] are just trying to get ahead. Trying not to stay in the same place, trying to advance forward," says Navedo. "And why not? That's what the human race is all about, we're all trying."
While Alba, the family matriarch, has more life experience under her belt than Jane and Xo, she's still navigating the unknown. Coll hints at the changes she has ahead. "Alba has always been self-sufficient and has supported her family with hard work... I think that's instilled in her granddaughter and her daughter," she says. But as Alba gets older, she wonders: Will she continue taking care of them, or vice versa?
Coll, 69, can relate to taking a hold of such life changes. "I'm trying to do that right now," she says. "I have a house in Puerto Rico inherited from my mother. I planned to go and retire there and then I booked this job and I couldn't go," says Coll. As Alba, she could only plan so much. "God's plan for us is bigger than our little plan for ourselves. We have to take it as it comes," she says.
As confusing as womanhood can be, it's comforting to know that women of different ages and walks of life are experiencing the exact same thing.
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