It should be noted that while star Gina Rodriguez does dazzle as the eponymous celibate on CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” the literal voice of the show is the smart, suave narration offered by voiceover artist Anthony Mendez. OK, we should probably explain …
What was the audition process like?
I almost didn’t want to do it. I mean you look at the premise — accidentally artificially inseminated — and then you have a Spanish accent on top of that … As a voice actor of color, you’re always a little bit weary of something like that. What I liked about “Jane” was they weren’t making fun of the accent, it’s just an enhancement to [the show].
It’s interesting that you say voice actor of color …
Because you don’t see what the person looks like … You can change the way you speak, but the essence of who you are is still there. Even though I was born here, my first agency would only send me on Spanish auditions. As any Latino knows, Spanish isn’t our forte. We speak it fluently, but not as well as, say, someone from Latin America.
Do you get called in a lot for the Latin Lover parts?
I do now more than before, but I’ve always had that character in my repertoire. I call my accent a paella accent. I have a little bit of the Spanish accent, I have a little bit of the Jersey accent, I have a little bit of the New York edge and a little bit of street all mixed up together.
Are people surprised when they see what you look like?
I think they expect me to look like the Most Interesting Man in the World. Sometimes I feel like growing a mustache just for that.
To a certain degree, you don’t want them to see you because then you destroy the illusion.
Do you get “recognized” when you’re in line at Starbucks now?
Because my voice carries, people kind of turn their heads anyway. I can feel it if I’m ordering a grande caramel macchiato, extra caramel.
Have you given your character a backstory?
I do, but obviously I keep that close to the chest. Jennie [Snyder Urman, the show’s creator] said she was going to reveal it — hopefully not any time soon because that means the show is coming to an end.
Do you get asked to say “In a world …” a lot?
I do. Isn’t that weird? But I like to say it with the Latin Love Narrator voice.