In a recent Instagram post, “Jane The Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez opened up about her struggles with anxiety and self acceptance in the face of feeling uncomfortable in her skin.
Gina Rodriguez shared a video from a project aimed at revealing our true selves through extended 10-second portrait style videos.
To the untrained eye, this is just a regular video of a famous person, smiling for the camera. She reposted the video on her own Instagram account and it’s here, in her long caption, that her message becomes clear:
“My beautiful friend @antonsoggiu came to visit from Norway and he included me in his magical art. TEN SECOND PORTRAITS. It’s always great to be in front of his lens but this time it was just me. Bare and exposed in the streets of la. No makeup. No styling. Just me. I suffer from anxiety. And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathize with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s ok to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. I like watching this video. It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel maybe even an acceptance. This is me. Puro Gina.”
In the short clip, where she stares into the camera, trying to smile, wearing no make up, on the street, in a cap — she looks pretty normal. But if you look a little deeper and keep an open mind, you see her bite her lip and struggle to keep the same face for more than a few seconds at a time. She appears to go through a million emotions in the span of 10 seconds, and there’s a sense of discomfort at certain points — that’s the anxiety seeping in.
For some, those feelings can be so intense that they become crippling. For many, like Rodriguez, that’s just a part of their every day lives. More often than not though, it’s not something most Latinos get to learn about themselves or talk about with their families. Sometimes, we just bottle that stuff up, put it away, and get to work, never dealing with it. Many of us don’t even have the healthcare to deal with it even if we wanted to.
Just imagine explaining anxiety to your immigrant abuela. She might just look at you funny. At most, abuela may give you a hug, serve you some asopado, and then ask if you’ve done your chores. All of that may feel wonderful, but it’s not really addressing the issue and that’s just the reality for a lot of us.
The Instagram account has several of these 10-second portraits. Some subjects are smiling…
… While others show even more discomfort than Rodriguez did in her portrait.
It’s a reminder, from Rodriguez, that anxiety is something we as Latinos should talk about and is more common than we may think.
You can check out the rest of the project here: #TenSecondPortraits