EXCLUSIVE: 'First Date' Broadway Star Krysta Rodriguez on Romance & Show Business

Your character is this chic, fun girl who is attracted to bad boys, which a lot of women can relate to. But what is your actual type in a guy?

It’s the total opposite. If they even show hints of being a bad boy, they’re off the list. That’s what is so funny about it. I really love skinny, nerdy guys who love their moms, that’s what’s attractive to me. I’m totally the opposite. Krysta would totally got for Aaron, but Casey not so much. Those bad boys don’t stand a chance with me.

You have a lot of really good chemistry with Zachary, so we want to know, what is like as a kisser?

(laughs) He’s very good. Fans at the stage door can’t believe I get the opportunity to kiss him every night. I always say how technical it all is. We still argue about how we want to do it, how it’s most effective for the show, so it’s become the bit of our show that we talk about all the time. What’s hilarious is that as soon as it happens the lights go out we have to run to opposite sides of the stage. So after this big romantic kiss, we literally push off each other to get ready to go. It speaks nothing of his abilities, he’s very skilled. But it’s not as romantic as it looks.

When you were in In The Heights before, that musical had a lot of Latina representation. For this one that's not a huge part of your character. Can you tell us what that’s like? 

The fact that I got to be in In The Heights was such a cool thing, because I love that it’s part of my heritage. It’s not necessarily part of my look, so people don’t always expect me in that way, which is sort of interesting. When I got the show, I thought they were going to call me Fraud-riguez! I don’t have this background, I wasn’t necessarily raised culturally with it. My mother isn’t Hispanic. Was I Hispanic enough? Those feelings were on my mind. But it was such a cool experience to be involved with people in all different phases of their ethnicity. I might not be saying it right, but half of them were Jewish, or Cuban and Irish, everyone was mixed up in a kind of melting pot.

It made me feel so comfortable – everybody made me feel comfortable there. It was a way to celebrate the part of me that doesn’t get celebrated. I grew up in southern California, where the Hispanic population is most made up mostly Mexican, and I’m Spanish, and they’re very different, so I didn’t identify with that when I was growing up. To be able to be in a group of people who found their identities and celebrate with them, it was really exciting for me. I got to learn so much about who I am and where I come from. It was really great for me.

I chock that up to something really special in my life. On the other hand, I enjoy the fact that Casey is not written as a Hispanic person, she’s not filling a quota of a Hispanic role, a minority role in the show. She’s simply the lead in the show that a Hispanic person can play. I think that’s triumphant in a way. I think there is a place to celebrate it, to carry the flag, and be very proud of where you are. Then there is a place where a role is written and the best person for the job is playing it and it doesn’t matter what their last name is. I’m happy to be involved in that.

Continue reading on page 4 for Krysta's next project and her advice for other Latinas looking to get into show business. >>

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Irina Gonzalez, Director of Audience Development

Irina Gonzalez is the Digital Audience Development Manager for Latina.com and The Latin Kitchen, where she oversees social media, content partnerships, writes and edits, and more. An NYC-based journalist, web editor, and food writer, she started her career with an internship at Latina magazine while receiving her bachelor’s at New York University. Her work has appeared in Time Out New York, MamasLatinas.com, FamilyCircle.com, TheFrisky.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and more. When she’s not checking out the latest taco restaurant in New York City, scouring for the best tapas in Barcelona, or dreaming of visiting Alex Atala’s restaurant in Brazil, she’s blogging about her favorite recipes, healthy eating tips and maintaining her 100 pound weight loss on HealthyLatinFood.com. You can always find her on Twitter (@msirinagonzalez) & Instagram (@msirinagonzalez) talking about her latest delicious meal.

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