The CW drama Jane the Virgin never falls short of captivating plots, well-layered characters and heartfelt moments that many other shows seem to lack these days. With an all-star cast, including Golden Globe winner and leading lady Gina Rodriguez (Jane), this critically acclaimed show has become one of my favorites currently on air. It’s so good that I often find myself constantly torn between the passionate but hotheaded Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and the dependable yet comforting Michael (Brett Dier), and I’m always, like always, always rooting for Jane, her unborn baby and her dreams of becoming a writer. Since its premiere last fall, the series has yet to let me down when it comes to being thoroughly entertained.
OK, I admit it, the recent introduction of Andie, a new character played by Rachel DiPillo definitely threw me for a loop. I didn’t expect for her to be an ex of Michael’s, let alone that she knew who Jane was all along. Remind me to never trust anyone I meet in a creative writing workshop– who knows which of my former lovers has a borderline manipulative ex trying to gain intel by befriending me. Well, I shouldn’t speak too soon, we’re not really sure what Andie’s deal is but one thing’s for sure, we’re all left with an unsettling feeling from this unknown newcomer.
DiPillo and I discussed her character toeing the line, if the bond between Jane and Andie is a true one, and even got the scoop on Cuckoo, the new NBC comedy pilot she’s starring in with YouTube’s Flula Borg.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: What initially drew you to acting? Was there a person or movie that inspired you?
RACHEL DiPILLO: I grew up around musical productions as a young kid – Crazy for You, Hello Dolly, A Chorus Line, etc. I found the live music, booming voices, and the energy of a live theatrical production very inspiring.
MM: Tell us a little bit about Andie, the character you play on the CW’s Jane the Virgin.
RD: Andie, I have discovered, is a bit up for audience interpretation. Some see her as conniving or devious, and others as lovesick and in over her head or naïve. Either way you choose to see her, the bottom line is her actions are guided by what she has gleaned of other people’s lives on social media. And that’s the world we live in, but it’s also a little creepy, malicious intent or not.
MM: Had you watched the show prior to getting the role?
RD: I had. It was one of the only pilots I was interested in watching last fall, and it didn’t disappoint!
MM: We quickly learn that Andie used to date Michael… and that maybe she’s not quite over him. Can Andie be trusted? Does she have psycho ex tendencies?
RD: Andie’s truly a book that should not be judged by her cover. At first sight, she can seem like a psycho ex, but she has no malicious intent. This is no ‘Fatal Attraction.’ At least she isn’t for now. In the future, the writers can take her any place they wish! As her story is unfolding now, I see her as a little socially naïve and as someone who has allowed her emotions to get the best of her, instead of thinking the realistic consequences of her actions through.
MM: Do you and your Jane the Virgin character share any interests, or personality traits?
RD: Oh, I have definitely had my Andie days. I never took things as far as she does with Jane and Michael, but I can play her… mostly without judgement because I get it. I understand being hung up and believing in signs.
MM: When we initially met Andie, we assumed she had nothing but good intentions– after the newest episode we learned that Andie knew Jane was Michael’s ex from the start, yet she still befriended her. Does she have a good reason for being secretive?
RD: I don’t think she has a good or bad reason – I think she wasn’t using reason. I think Andie happened to stumble upon Jane entering the writer’s group that fateful day and curiosity about her ex’s ex got the better of her. A perfect storm ensues from that point. I don’t know how to justify her actions based on the script any other way. But if you can, please let me know!
MM: Will we find out if the friendship between Jane and Andie is genuine or not?
RD: You will!
MM: How would you react if you were in Jane’s position? Finding out that your new friend was the ex of your ex…
RD: I would feel very similarly to Jane. Completely turned off and weirded out by this person who has, in my mind, crossed the line. But after some processing time I would probably have compassion for that friend because I understand what heartbreak is like. And depending on how she explains herself we could have a future friendship. Or not.
MM: What’s the cast dynamic like? You’re coming into this show that’s pretty established already– were you nervous to film at all?
RD: Super nervous. My first day on set was the Monday after the Golden Globes. I tried to be very honest about how intimidated I was because I didn’t know what else to do with my nervous energy! Gina and Andrea were so welcoming and kind, my nerves faded.
MM: What are some shows you liked watching when you were growing up?
RD: Everybody Loves Raymond. Scrubs. The Office. So You Think You Can Dance. Oprah.
MM: If you weren’t an actor, what other career would you choose to pursue?
RD: I’m still trying to figure that out myself. Ask me again in two years.
MM: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
RD: I have to go with a childhood favorite – The Lion King.
MM: Name 3 things you can’t go a day without.
RD: Human connection, water, and a laugh.
MM: Can you give us a sneak peek when it comes to Cuckoo, the new NBC comedy pilot you’re starring in with YouTube’s Flula Borg?
RD: I have three sneaky-peekies for you: a swarm of bees; love braids; a Corby Press.
MM: Lastly, are you working on anything else that you want to share with the readers?
RD: I’m working on deciding which tea to drink. Mint, Green or Irish Black?