‘Fast & Furious’ Star Michelle Rodriguez Compares Wage Gap To ‘Being Born A Slave’

Edward VKanty - Author

Jun. 19 2016, Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

While other actresses are bringing the plight of the wage gap to the public through interviews and online essays, Fast & Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez seems content to accept whatever pay she’s currently being offered. It’s not that she agrees with the wage gap -she doesn’t- but Rodriguez also doesn’t see any good coming from fighting for something, which the Fast 8 actress feels may not change within her lifetime. Recently, Michelle shared her feelings about the wage gap and about transforming her Fast & Furious character from a supporting character to a primary role.

Michelle Rodriguez Says Being Paid Less Money Is Equivalent To Slavery

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An impromptu interview at Los Angeles’ LAX airport resulted in Michelle Rodriguez making more of the outlandish statements, which have become expected of her in recent years. This time, the topic of conversation was the issue of wage gaps in Hollywood between male and female celebrities and Ms. Rodriguez’ first comments on the subject reflected her feelings about living in a male-dominated society. Michelle remarked that she acknowledges that she does live in a patriarchy and seemed content to leave it at that, at first.

“I don’t complain, you know, I’m not gonna whine about it,” says the Fast 8 actress. “It’s like being born a slave, you don’t complain, like, ‘Oh, darn my luck; I wish I was born somewhere else or maybe some other way,’ but it is what it is.”

Some might think Ms. Rodriguez is taking a selfish stance on the topic, because, as an influential celebrity, she should feel a degree of responsibility for other women in the industry, but Michelle isn’t concerned with the bigger picture. She says her concern isn’t with money, not even for herself.

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“Nope. I don’t care; I’m not about money or power. I don’t care about money.”

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Fast 8 Star Michelle Rodriguez On Developing A Greater Purpose For Letty

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While the wage gap issue may not be enough to get Michelle Rodriguez fired up, the characters she plays on screen fill her with much more passion and she’s not one to stand idly by and let herself be cast as a supporting character to her male co-stars. Ms. Rodriguez says there are more important things for women to do in leading roles of their own and it’s time to educate male writers attempting to write for female characters. One example is her Letty character in The Fast & the Furious films. Michelle says she was originally cast to compliment the male characters and that, initially, Letty was intended to simply be a romantic interest for Brian, played by Paul Walker.

“It was me trying to create a character with longevity, and they were open to it after a while,” Rodriguez says of trying to convince the Fast & Furious producers to develop Letty into a larger role. “At first it was really, really hard. Like, ‘Who does she think she is, trying to rewrite this thing!’ I’m like, ‘Well, you don’t understand, I’m not gonna do it if you don’t!'”

Michelle says that while more successful actresses might have kept their mouths shut and taken the role as it had been offered, she really had nothing to lose in making her stand. For Ms. Rodriguez, the greatest humiliation lay in acting the part of a senseless bimbo in front of the whole world.

“It’s easy for somebody who comes from nothing to do that. It’s not like I’m gonna lose a lot by standing my ground and sticking for what I believe in,” says the Fast 8 actress. “For me, it was the embarrassment of having millions of people around the world look at me like some sort of floozy.”

Fast 8, starring Charlize Theron, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodriguez, opens on April 14, 2017 in theaters.

[Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]


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