The raw, the beautiful, the honest and magnetically charismatic Michelle Rodriguez shared with BASIC some of her philosophical stances on female power, eco-tourism and human physiology, unfolding her captivating personality as if the rainbow hues would shine through the crystal prism. Known for starring in world’s highest grossing movies like Furious 7 and Avatar Michelle is probably one of the most private Hollywood stars. Being recognized for her tough girls’ roles in such movies as Girlfriend, S.W.A.T., Battle: Los Angeles, The Fast & The Furious and Television Series Lost, Michelle has been portrayed as ‘do-not-mess-with-me’ character. However, with the new thriller Widows on the horizon directed by Oscar winning director Steve McQueen, Michelle steps into a whole different world of acting sharing the screen with Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Oscar winning actress Viola Davis. Shooting with Michelle at the remote horse ranch and seeing her connecting with horses made me think that her wild spirit worth thousands of horsepower is just taking her off to the new heights.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FOR YOU WHILE SHOOTING THE MOVIE WIDOWS?
I feel like I had more than a few memorable moments shooting Widows. I found it to be such a unique experience. First and foremost, working with Steve in general was so special. He’s such a sentient creature. He seems to read moments like music and directs films like an orchestra. It’s amazing to watch him put moments together. I hadn’t been challenged in such a long time as I’d mostly worked on commercial films, focusing on formulaic one liners and action sequences. I realized through working with McQueen how undernourished my sense of character depth and dimension truly was all these years. I have to say it was really epic hanging out in the makeup trailer with all these amazing women from different backgrounds and age groups; lots of laughter, sharing stories every morning or night depending on our weird hours. I also realized how much feminine energy I’d been missing out on all these years. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone. The energy was very communal and symbiotic and I felt like I was part of a team dedicated to discovering something special.
YOUR CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE [WIDOWS] IS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PREVIOUS ROLES. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT? WAS IT A DIFFICULT OR EASY ROLE FOR YOU TO TAKE ON? I think being the woman who has kids at an early age, married to a man who doesn’t take care of his home, is one my worst nightmares. I guess that’s one of the reasons I tackled the role. I feel like my entire career has been spent finding the Artemis and Atlanta Greek archetypes and I’ve been more of an activist than what I consider to be a true thespian. My choices throughout the years have been made trying to avoid Hollywood stereotypes of what a woman should be so much so I became a stereotype. I thought this role would be a good first step outside of my comfort zone to see if I can discover strength in places where my conventional wisdom sees weakness… Besides, I feel mothers who love their kids unconditionally are the most powerful women in the trinity. Cleopatra, Warrior Princess, Great Mother – I’d put the Mother at the top of the pyramid in my book.
WHAT CHARACTER OR ROLE THAT YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED YET WOULD YOU WANT TO TRY YOURSELF IN? There’s a sense I get after reading a lot of amazing feminist literature – a sense that there truly is a shift happening in the way women view themselves. I feel like there’s this male perspective dominating the physical world, an almost algo-rithmic system of seeing only the quantifiable, the material, the logical, the scientific. On the other side, the mind before the matter realm, there seems to be this massive elephant in the room, like dark matter in space. I don’t even know what it is yet, but I’m certain it’s feminine and no man is going to be able tell me what I am or who I should be. I sense it’s a good time for girls to unite and figure out what that voice looks like. No one else is going to do it for us, of that I’m sure.
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU VALUE IN PEOPLE MOST? AND WHICH ONES DO YOU DESPISE? I value Veritas, Truth… It’s not always pretty, yet I prefer it to facades. Guess I live in the wrong city for Veritas, hahaha, yet I also feel opposites are important for the movement, the growth, and evolution, so I don’t despise the dark side or facades. I just dislike the need for their existence.IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER DATE NIGHT WITH A NOW PASSED AWAY PERSONALITY OR STAR, WHO WOULD IT BE?I’d meet Diotima of Mantinea, the famous Sybil in Greece, mentioned by Plato in his Socratic dialogues on the subject of Love. She was a famous Sybil in those ancient times, trained in the ancient Goddess Wisdom, considered an initiate of Eleusinian mysteries…
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SCENT? Jasmine, gardenias, burning wood in a fireplace…
WHICH COUNTRY DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST THAT MATCHING YOUR PERSONALITY AND WHY? Iceland… The country seems to be guided by a flexible sense of reason and kind logic. It seems to place evolution and growth over pride and stiff patriotism. This I believe to be a functional holistic way of guiding a society of humans. The country is progressive, innovative, and they don’t seem to fear change, which keeps their education at high standards. Their government is always willing to improve and the people seem to have high standards of solidarity and respect for each other. I never felt at home anywhere really… I guess it’s because I’m home three months out of the year, always traveling. I’m kind of a gypsy.
IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO DO AN INVISIBLE TATTOO WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHERE? Sak Yant Buddhist Prayers for protection, from Thai-land, most likely from Arjan…
IF WE HAD A CHANCE TO HAVE A FEMALE PRESIDENT NOW, WHO WOULD YOU NOMINATE? Meryl Streep or Oprah, but too bad they won’t do it. Who in their right mind wants that bureaucratic headache? So sad. Sometimes I wish a group of altruistic software developers designed a self-learning algorithm that would govern making sound economic decisions based on growth and evolution instead of power and greed. Guess that won’t happen till all the dinosaurs die out with their minions..
WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING GIFT HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED? I was surprised to receive an award at Deauville Film Festival… It was nice. It felt good.
AND WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING GIFT YOU HAVE EVER GIVEN TO SOMEONE? I can’t say…
IF YOU COULD FLY, WHICH IS THE FIRST PLACE YOU WOULD LAND AT? I’ve always wanted to go to the Tibetan mountains…
IF YOU COULD TURN BACK TIME, ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE? To quote Edith Piaf ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ or Frank Sinatra “I did it my way’… I’m a human, raw, imperfect, flawed, and growing. If I stop learning I think that would be the perfect time to leave this place..
IF HAPPINESS WOULD BE A CURRENCY, WHAT PROFESSION OR OCCUPATION WOULD MAKE YOU RICH? Philanthropic expeditions to help preserve endangered animals, I think the only way that that becomes lucrative is through eco-tourism ventures… I’d probably hang out in remote places like India, Africa, & South America to help design some kind of Jurassic World Adventure Park to help preserve some of the nature and animals there… In another life I guess, I’m in the wrong business for that.
Photographer & Creative Director Viktorija Pashuta @viktorija_pashuta
Producer Jackson Chong
Line Producer Tanya Quenko @quenko
Contributing Fashion Editor Lisa Cera
Fashion Stylists Lisa Cera + Tyler J McDaniel @lisaandtylerj @ Crosby Carter Management @crosbycarter
Hairstylist Christian Marc @ FORWARD ARTISTS
MUA Hinako @ Crosby Carter Management
Manicurist: Denise Bourne @ The Rex Agency using Deborah Lippmann @denisebourne37
Contributing Art Director Roberta Hall
Photo Assistant Pepe Manzino @bp_sessions
Stylist Assistant Lauren LaPenna
Fashion Interns Hazbeth Rubio and Michie Loftus
Interns Charles B Clark and Barbara Przybycien
Special thank you Trainer/Horse Facilitator Kimberly Kulesa Jackson @kimkulesadressage and Assistant Madeleine Woodman at Spirit Equestrian
Spirit Equestrian, 7202 Balcom Canyon Rd, Somis, CA 93066
@spiritequestrian Yogu Kanthiah at Hollywood Forever