Exclusive! Gina Rodriguez on Bullying Prevention: It's About "Understanding the Effect of Words"

Getty | Mike Coppola

Gina Rodriguez is an endless source of inspirational words and positive mantras. But she's no stranger to bullying, constantly standing up to those who criticize her on social media and promoting the hashtag #NoToKeyboardCourage, educating people on the power of their words. It was only natural that as a strong believer in ending bullying, Gina's next step was to partner with an organization promoting acceptance. As part of CustomInk's Be Good to Each Other initiative, the Jane the Virgin actress was one of many celebrities (including Rachel Platten and Olympic medalist Gracie Gold) to design a t-shirt with the words "Kindness is always in style" with proceeds going to support Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center. We caught up with Gina to chat about her efforts and find out where her confidence comes from. Keep scrolling to read the exclusive interview, then check out some of her most powerful quotes.

Getty | Mike Coppola

POPSUGAR: This partnership is perfect for you. Recently you stood up to a Twitter bully who called you "not Latina enough." Why is it important to take a stand even when the bullying takes place behind a computer screen?

Gina Rodriguez: Thank you! Dealing with online bullying, or bullying in general, personally has only empowered me to use my voice even more, and while I haven't really decided what the correct way of attacking this societal problem is yet, I just know that when somebody comes at me with an untruth, I'm going to clarify the truth. What happened with that was somebody that was uninformed and miseducated on the subject, so I simply corrected them.

PS: We see this sort of bullying among Latinos often. You're a big proponent of inclusiveness in the Latin community.

GR: I speak about this often actually about how the Latino community often gets clumped into one and sadly we see so many differences amongst our own cultures. I think we need to work on creating unity amongst all the Latino cultures. I also think that saying that someone is not Latina enough is like saying they're not human enough. It's an absolutely preposterous perspective that needs to end because it's weakening us and what we need to do is strengthen and unite our community.

PS: You're very open about your parents being the force behind your assertiveness. What is your advice on what parents can do to help build confidence in girls from a young age?

GR: I think that speaking to your children and educating them on how to treat others and how to only expect that kind of treatment in return. Letting them know that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Helping them understand the effect of their words on other people, including those that are important to them as well as those who are strangers. Giving them positivity and kindness as a staple in their life and letting them know that this is the kind of person they want around and that other people want around.

PS: You're full of wise words; what is your favorite antibullying mantra?

GR: Kindness is always in style. It's the message that's on the t-shirt I designed for CustomInk's campaign.