PURE CONFIDENCE: In an industry where body shaming runs rampant, Rodriguez has found a way to stay positive. “My curves are healthy and strong and I work hard to feel good in my skin,” she states. Photos: Brian Bowen Smith/August

Rodriguez also didn’t like how Latinas were portrayed on screen as sexpots. She thought her chances of becoming a leading lady were slim so she settled into character roles or as the “chunky best friend.” As she started to accept her curves, her attitude changed.

“Why couldn’t I be a leading lady?” she asks. “Who decided what a leading lady should look like?”

The Golden Globe winner decided to break and rewrite society’s rules. “I didn’t allow my definition of beauty to be defined by anyone else but me,” she says.

Healthy and strong

In college, Rodriguez was diagnosed with a hypothyroid condition known as Hashimoto’s disease. She’d been exhausted with stomach illness and depression and didn’t know what was happening. The diagnosis was a relief.

"I didn't allow my definition of beauty to be defined by anyone else but me."

“I went to the beach and cried tears of joy because I now had the knowledge of what was wrong with me and I knew I had the strength to fight it,” she says.

The actress uses prayer to stay grateful and yoga to relieve stress.

“I listen to my heart. I talk to myself,” she says. “I learn what is best for me in that moment on that day.” Rodriguez—who likes feeling strong—is into boxing, crediting the sport with helping her “punch something so my anger isn’t misplaced on someone or something that doesn’t deserve it.”

HEALTH FIRST : During an interview with Women's Health, Rodriguez spoke candidly about her imperfections. “It’s a very strange feeling to be okay with a little cellulite or a little extra anything. I don’t look at it and feel terrified anymore.”

Fashion forward

As a co-founder of recently launched Naja, a size-inclusive lingerie line, Rodriguez is helping other women get strong, too.

The most challenging part has been getting the line into stores and “delivering our vision to the women who have been waiting to be included, and it’s not easy to do that.”

She’s motivated to help the women creating the lingerie, too. Through Naja’s “Underwear for Hope” campaign, 30 single mothers in Colombia work from home so they can care for their children and earn more than minimum wage. Their kids get an education as well.

“We work hard, harder and don’t stop,” says Rodriguez. “That’s what life is about, right?”