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Refinery29 Interview

Never Have I Ever Star Lee Rodriguez on Portraying Fabiola & Female Friendships

For Afro-Latines, seeing someone on screen who looks like you and also shares your cultural background is still rare. “When there’s not a lot of representation, you just try to find yourself in any character,” says Lee Rodriguez, who plays Fabiola Torres in Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy series “Never Have I Ever.” For years, she has looked up to the likes of Panamanian-Mexican Tessa Thompson and Dominican-Puerto Rican Zoe Saldana. Now, countless viewers are finding that much-needed and beloved representation through Rodriguez.
With “Never Have I Ever” premiering its third season on August 12, Rodriguez will return to her role as Fabiola, a queer, nerdy character that she says is much like herself. Feeling so close to the role, she hopes it’s a portrayal that is offering inspiration to fans.

“It’s such an honor to be a part of the show, let alone be that representation. It has really opened my eyes a lot and has really humbled and inspired me so much,” she says. “Everyone says this a lot, but it’s so true: It feels good to see someone who looks like you on screen. It genuinely gives a sense of inspiration. It gives a sense of like, ‘Oh, I can do that, too,’ or ‘I can be in this space and be myself. … I really love that. I really love when people feel like they can see themselves through Fabiola and feel represented. It’s truly an honor.”

Similar to Fabiola, the 22-year-old California native is the daughter of a Mexican father and African-American mother. “My mom is a little bit similar to Fabiola’s mom in the sense that she’s very expressive and has a big personality,” Rodriguez shares. “It was really fun to work with Tembi [Locke] because the way that she played my mom Elise was really similar to my [own] mom. Also, my dad on the show — we only see him a couple times — but the character of my dad, his name is Victor. Funny enough, my actual dad’s name is Victor.”
In the first two seasons of “Never Have I Ever,” we get to see and know Fabiola as Devi Vishwakumar’s (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) tech-savvy best friend. She is the captain of the high school robotics team, and is learning to navigate her sexuality while entering into a romantic relationship with Eve (Christina Kartchner) that brings a new group of friends around her. Throughout seasons one and two, there’s a lot of character growth for Fabiola, so it begs the question as to where we will find her in season three. “There’s so much that happens in season three with my character that they don’t show in the trailer. Fabiola is still the supportive friend, being there for everybody, but there’s a lot of relationship stuff that she’s struggling with — with her current partner,” Rodriguez explains. “There’s a cliffhanger at the end of episode two with Fabiola, [and] I’m really excited for people to see what Fabiola is going through.”

While Fabiola and her friends Devi and Eleanor Wong (Ramona Young) begin to navigate romantic relationships in seasons one and two, and will continue to nurture old flames and ignite new ones in season three, at its core, “Never Have I Ever” is a series about this beautiful, dynamic, and sometimes complex friendship among the three young women characters of color, a lovely portrayal we don’t often see in popular entertainment. “Man, having good supportive friends or people that are really there for you or tell you if you’re in the wrong [is so important]. … They’re just your No. 1 support system. It’s so important to see and have,” Rodriguez says. “I feel like any time Devi does something, Fabiola and Eleanor will be there to be like, ‘Hey, that’s not cool.’ It’s good to have friends that call you out on things. I’m glad that this show does that. I’m glad that it shows a strong female friend group.”

This strong on-screen friendship has transcended to real life as well. According to Rodriguez, she, Ramakrishnan, and Young have built a sisterhood outside of the series where they’re there for each other and support one another. “I’m glad that by doing this show, I was able to make real-life, new best friends,” she says. Despite each of their hectic work schedules, they make time to spend together off the set — and it’s always a good time. “We go out and eat lunch together. We go to Universal CityWalk, and we walk around and talk. Sometimes we forget that people recognize us, so we’ll get stopped every five minutes, and we’re like, ‘Maybe we should go sit down and eat,’” she shares, laughing. “We have sleepovers, which are so fun. During our last sleepover, we made TikToks and played Dance Dance Revolution. It was so fun.”
Apart from her on-screen persona, Rodriguez, who in addition to acting is also pursuing a career in music, considers herself to be a chill person who is focused on being the best she can be in her personal and professional lives.
“Behind Lee Rodriguez is Laronza, my first name, which is me at my core, someone who is very goofy and loves to sing randomly at every second of the day. It’s [someone] who feels deeply and cares about the people around her, and cares about leaving an impact on the world. Someone who cares about my dreams and being a good friend, a good sister, and a good daughter,” she says. “I’m just trying to be more selfless and more self-aware, trying to do better every day and growing. That pretty much sums me up.”

Source: refinery29.com





BELatina Interview

Lee Rodriguez, the Young Afro-Latina Actress Making Waves

Fabiola is a proudly gay teenager, captain of her high school robotics team, and one of the lead characters in Mindy Kaling’s Netflix series “Never Have I Ever.” The success of the series has put Afro-Latina actress Lee Rodriguez, who plays Fabiola, center stage.

“In high school, I was this shy, tall girl with a big afro. Playing Fabiola, that’s how she feels too,” Rodriguez told ET‘s Melicia Johnson about the similarities between herself and her character. “She’s an [Afro-Latina], tall, [with] dorky clothes. She’s figuring herself out and trying things; some things don’t work, and she learns more about herself. And that’s a perfect example of growing up.”

Lee Rodriguez was born in Fresno, California, and grew up in Hesperia. Her love for acting began in eighth grade while attending Encore Jr./Sr. High School, a school specializing in the arts.

After enrolling in a talent agency, Rodriguez soon landed her first break playing Bea in “Class of Lies” in 2018. In the same year, she portrayed Naomi in “Grown-ish” in 2018. In 2020, Rodriguez joined the cast of “Never Have I Ever” and set the tone with her performance and Fabiola‘s afro.

Lee Rodriguez claimed to be proud of her Latina and black culture and shared how she has “the best of both worlds.”

“I’m thankful to be close with both sides,” she says of her family, adding that while her paternal grandmother doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t speak Spanish, they’re always “finding a way to connect” amid the language barrier.

The young actress has used her platform to share her concern and activism for climate change, starting an Instagram Live series “Learning With Lee: The Climate Crisis,” where she addresses issues such as fast fashion.

Lee Rodriguez will continue to play Fabiola in the upcoming third season of “Never Have I Ever” and hopes to make the leap to her true passion: music.

Source: belatina.com





Two new interviews with Lee

Interview #1: Shine My Crown

‘Never Have I Ever’ Star Lee Rodriguez: ‘You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation for Your Queerness’

Last year, “Never Have I Ever” actress Lee Rodriguez made headlines when she came out as queer — but now she says she’s tired of having to explain her sexual identity to people.

Rodriguez recently penned an essay for Cosmopolitan, where she opened up about her experience of coming out — and the frustrating series of events that followed.

Last year, “Never Have I Ever” actress Lee Rodriguez made headlines when she came out as queer — but now she says she’s tired of having to explain her sexual identity to people.

Rodriguez recently penned an essay for Cosmopolitan, where she opened up about her experience of coming out — and the frustrating series of events that followed.

“The questions really started after Never Have I Ever came out. People would ask, “So are you gay in real life? Or is it just for the show?” Or like, “Oh, are you actually lesbian? What are you?” I was like, “Oh, wow, I don’t know! I don’t know what label I am,” she wrote.

The actress wrote that people’s assumptions about her sexuality became an issue for her.

“It is ultimately my choice to share. I could have kept it to myself, and I would have been just fine. But I feel like people were assuming based on my past dating history, which I didn’t appreciate. I asked, “Why are people assuming my sexuality?” she explained.

Rodriguez’s character in the Netflix series Fabiola came out in the show’s first season, and in real life, Lee then came out on National Coming Out Day in October 2020.

Entertainment
‘Never Have I Ever’ Star Lee Rodriguez: ‘You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation for Your Queerness’
by Shine My Crown Staff September 6, 2021
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Last year, “Never Have I Ever” actress Lee Rodriguez made headlines when she came out as queer — but now she says she’s tired of having to explain her sexual identity to people.

Rodriguez recently penned an essay for Cosmopolitan, where she opened up about her experience of coming out — and the frustrating series of events that followed.

“The questions really started after Never Have I Ever came out. People would ask, “So are you gay in real life? Or is it just for the show?” Or like, “Oh, are you actually lesbian? What are you?” I was like, “Oh, wow, I don’t know! I don’t know what label I am,” she wrote.

The actress wrote that people’s assumptions about her sexuality became an issue for her.

“It is ultimately my choice to share. I could have kept it to myself, and I would have been just fine. But I feel like people were assuming based on my past dating history, which I didn’t appreciate. I asked, “Why are people assuming my sexuality?” she explained.

Rodriguez’s character in the Netflix series Fabiola came out in the show’s first season, and in real life, Lee then came out on National Coming Out Day in October 2020.

“I kind of felt pressured, in a way, to share that part of me. I knew it was going to be a thing when taking on the role of Fabiola and I was prepared for that because it’s not okay for straight actors to take queer roles. I personally would not have taken the role if I wasn’t. But what I didn’t know was how much I would get the question.”

She says the questions made her begin to doubt herself.

“When people kept asking me, I felt like maybe I didn’t look like a queer person,” she continued. “But you shouldn’t have to explain your queerness. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your queerness or proof that you’re a valid queer person.”

Source: shinemycrown.com

Interview #2: Teen Vogue

Lee Rodriguez on Sexual Identity and Coming Out

Never Have I Ever star Lee Rodriguez is opening up about her sexual identity — but she’s a little tired of having to do so.

The actor, who portrays Fabiola on the Netflix series, first came out as queer on National Coming Out day in October of 2020. “I’ve been asked the same question a numerous amount of times,” Lee wrote on Instagram at the time. “Question being: ‘Are you gay?’ And well folks, I felt like there was no better day than today (National Coming Out Day) to publicly say that I AM a proud queer women!” The question has been brought up numerous times because Lee’s character on NHIE, Fabiola, is queer and comes out on the show.

In an “as told to” essay for Cosmopolitan, Lee explained that she felt like fans and the general public made some assumptions about her sexual identity based on her past dating history, adding that she felt somewhat pressured to share her story with the world. “When people kept asking me, I felt like maybe I didn’t look like a queer person,” the actor said. “But you shouldn’t have to explain your queerness. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your queerness or proof that you’re a valid queer person.”

Even though it’s been almost a year since her coming out, Lee shared that she still gets questions on a regular basis about her sexuality because of her role on the show. She explained that there’s no right way to come out, and at the end of the day, it’s important to do it on your terms. “Whatever you feel most comfortable with makes you valid,” she explained. “You don’t have to have a huge coming out. Sometimes you can just feel it within yourself and that’s okay! You’re still valid.”

She added that, for now, she’s done talking about her sexuality, noting that she doesn’t plan on the topic being a “continuous conversation.” Lee explained that there’s more to who she is than being queer, and she wants her fans and the public to focus on things other than her identity. “I want people to know that I love writing music and have passion for helping fight against our climate crisis,” she said. “I love sharing what’s going on in the world. And as far as my personal life, I want people to know that I have amazing friends, that I have fun, and that I’m growing as a person. I’m constantly evolving and my queerness is just one small part of me.”

As for her fans within the LGBTQ+ community, Lee ended her message with an important reminder about coming out. “Coming out can be scary because you feel like nobody really understands,” she explained to Cosmo. “But I feel like at least one person will after reading this. And even if nobody does, it’s okay. Because I understand it, and nobody can invalidate you if you feel like you’re valid within yourself.”

Lee has spoken about the coming out process before as it relates to her character, Fabiola. In the series, Fabiola struggles with sharing her true self with her family, and while coming out is different for everyone, her journey certainly resonated with many viewers who might have seen themselves in her story. Which, as Lee noted in a previous interview with Teen Vogue, makes shows like Never Have I Ever all the more important.

“It’s a very important story to tell to young people, especially some people who are going through that and don’t necessarily know how,” she said at the time. “[I hoped] just to let them know that they’re not alone and maybe hopefully give them courage to be able to do that for themselves. To question their own sexuality and maybe be open about it and not be ashamed of it.”

Source: teenvogue.com






Welcome to Lee Rodriguez Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented actress Lee Rodriguez. Lee has been in TV Shows like "Class of Lies", "Grown-ish" and "Never Have I Ever". This site is online to show our support to the actress Lee Rodriguez, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.
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Never Have I Ever

Lee plays Fabiola Torres

The complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American teenage girl, inspired by Mindy Kaling's own childhood.