What’s It Like to Be a Female Movie Star?

Michelle Rodriguez takes a picture with a fan at the premiere of Fast and Furious 6 in 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

These questions originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Michelle Rodriguez, actress, writer:

Q: What’s it like to be a famous action-movie actress?

A: It’s like being a zoo animal. Sometimes you walk down the street as the paparazzi follow you around with their cameras screaming your name while you’re trying to run errands or get some air. It can get crazy and frustrating, but I asked for it. So, I try to smile as much as possible and be grateful. I tell myself, Michelle, I know you wish you had some privacy from time to time, but it’s either this or live the conventional life you were expected to. What would that be like? No explosive sets, no fight sequences, no bad-ass one-liners to cook up, no amazing stunt work to witness, no movies. Screw that!

I love being in the action, enacting scenes that would get you jailed in real life, but it’s a movie, and that means I can break this glass, slam into those girls head-on, ride that rig, jump on that cop car, and not get in trouble. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s, with all its flaws, quirks, and imperfections. I love what I do. I love training for it, learning from experts. And I love what I’ve done—no regrets.

Q: Why are the Fast and Furious movies so entertaining?

A: I feel that the success of the Fast and Furious franchise has a lot to do with globalization (its multicultural cast); its timing, with a launch at the birth of a the new millennium; and a rare, innovative storytelling style. It took a new look at street racing and Latino, black, Asian, and caucasian camaraderie and exposed the melting pot that is the new world. The chemistry of the cast built the loyal fan base, and the fact that these characters live by their own code and answer to no one but one another creates a herolike admiration for a multicultural audience that usually has no heroes in Hollywood to relate to. The Fast and Furious franchise is an underdog giant in Hollywood, and I hope it paves a road for many multicultural, big-budget, quality productions in the future.

The world’s majority is Hollywood’s minority, and when that changes as the standard modus operandi, that’s when I believe blockbusters will reach a whole new global fan-base quota never really met before outside of Avatar and Titanic. We just need some really talented people to place their Hollywood bets on a brown, yellow, black, and white cast instead of limiting heroes to one race or one sex. We’re getting there, slowly but surely. Singularity prevails only with integration.

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