Your coworkers can become your second family, so it's always heartwarming to share each other's successes, to support one another through struggles, and to simply give each other props from being awesome. And actors are no different. In a post on Instagram, Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni expressed his love and admiration for Gina Rodriguez, whom he affectionately referred to as a "warrior" both on and off screen.
The actor, who plays her on-again off-again love interest Rafael Solano, wrote that Rodriguez not only puts her all into making their show the best it can be but also battles Hashimoto's disease at the same time. (According to the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto's disease is "a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid.")
Yet Rodriguez hardly shows her pain. Baldoni hailed her for being an inspiration with a loving heart who "treats everyone she meets with love and respect no matter how overworked, tired, or stressed she might be."
His post reads in part,
This is a special gratitude post for @hereisgina, my bad-ass acting partner and friend, who I've witnessed time and time again over the last 3 years put everything she has into our show. Who is in almost every scene, and usually ends up working 14 hour days every day. Who seems to have an endless supply of energy despite publicly fighting #Hashimotos...which I'm pretty sure no one even notices or remembers because she a warrior and never shows how tired her body probably really is ... I can write this because I've seen it firsthand, over and over again... and I know that to show up the way she does every day takes nothing short of a superhero.
Baldoni's heartfelt post (which you can read in full on his Instagram) sheds light on the far less glamorous side of Hollywood — the fact that actors deal with health problems just like the rest of us. Rodriguez spoke to Health magazine in Sept. 2016 about how Hashimoto's disease affects her life:
"Keeping weight off is very difficult because my metabolism is pretty much shot, which to me felt like a curse when I was 19. As an actress, I was like, 'Seriously?! In a world that's so vain, I have to deal with the disease that makes you not keep weight off?' But it actually became a blessing because then I got to represent not only women and Latinas but also women who are dealing with this disease."
Baldoni's post acknowledges Rodriguez's weekly hashtag #MovementMondays, which the star uses to highlight the work of fellow Latino artists in entertainment. Baldoni also referenced Rodriguez's tearjerking 2015 Golden Globe acceptance speech. Upon accepting the award for Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy, Rodriguez referenced her father's advice "I can and I will."
Rodriguez's resilient "I can and I will" spirit is undeniably admirable. Although she expressed her aim to reach Latinas, clearly her advocacy, kindness, and professionalism are rubbing off on her castmates like Baldoni, too. Fans of Jane the Virgin are always kept on their toes about how Jane and Rafael's relationship is going to fare, but Rodriguez and Baldoni seem to have an unbreakable, supportive bond that extends far beyond the workplace.