“Jane the Virgin” returns with new episodes Jan. 23, and coming so soon after the inauguration of Donald Trump, viewers will be hungry for its unique balance of telenovela-esqe absurdity and heartfelt discussion of more serious, hot-button issues, like abortion and immigration. Set in Miami, the CW series focuses on the lives of three generations of Latina women: Jane, her mother and grandmother.
Andrea Navedo, who plays Jane’s gregarious mother, chats with us about her character getting an abortion on prime-time television, missing Obama and how Trump's election has been a huge wake-up call for her.
“Jane the Virgin” recently got renewed for another season. How does that feel?
It feels really great. Every actor, I imagine, no matter what level they’re at, always worries about where their next gig is gonna come from, and at least I can be sure that I get to continue this amazing ride on “Jane the Virgin” for the next year and a half — so I’m happy.
What do you think accounts for the show’s success over the years?
The show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It knows it’s outrageous and comes from that perspective of complete awareness — with a wink or a nod to the audience like, “Yeah, we know this is crazy.” Also, having a core Latina family touching on issues of feminism, immigration and abortion — the show hasn’t been afraid to touch on those ideas.
On that note, your character had an abortion this season, which isn’t a topic we normally see on prime-time television. Why is that storyline so important?
Society has gotten out of touch about the big fight that it took years ago [for women to have the right to choose]. I think it was important to bring it into the limelight because at this moment in time, that right is being threatened.
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With Trump in office, do you think television will continue breaking new ground by covering issues like abortion, or do you think it’ll become more conservative?
I think it will continue to break new ground because the entertainment business is much more liberal, open-minded and accepting of the other than the government might be.
Are you going to miss Obama?
Oh yes, very much so. He was such a classy president. Intelligent, elegant, gritty, hardworking — really a shining example of what a president should be.
What are your plans for Inauguration Day?
I was considering going to the Women’s March in Washington but it’s not going to work out for me. There might be some stuff happening here in L.A., so, if that’s the case, I will be there. This is actually the first time that I’ve felt the need to be political. Unfortunately, I feel guilty of this. too, but I think we as a society have become so comfortable with all of our things — all of the material things. It’s just so easy to distract ourselves — the media just numbs the public. This is a huge wake-up call.
"Jane the Virgin" premieres on Monday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. on The CW.