As cliché as it may sound, today’s Boss Babe was destined to be a star. At first glance, Jackie is a presence to be noticed; she commands your attention when she enters a room thanks to her striking good looks, her tall and lean frame and her bad-2-tha-bone personal style.
Jackie first won our hearts when we were introduced to her feisty, finger-snappin’ Latina character, Flaca, on Orange is the New Black. And while it’s now known just how great of an actress she really is (read: Sag Award winner), there is much more to this real life flaca that meets the eye.
In addition to being our favorite Litchfield inmate, Jackie is a Dominican powerhouse who has been entertaining since a young age. More importantly, she is a life-long singer and songwriter who still gigs it up at some of NYC’s best live music joints. But that’s not all…you can also add designer to Jackie’s résumé, and even more importantly, she’s a boss babe who never shies away from a plate of pasta or a shot of whiskey.
We got our brunch on with Ms. Jackie Cruz and dished on all things food, role models, Flaca, and much, much more. Get to know the actress who has us girl crushing pretty damn hard.
Santiago, Dominican Republic. But I’m a gypsy so I have a few hometowns: LA, CA and Rome, New York
Coffee or tea?
Whiskey or wine?
I’m a whiskey girl
Jumpsuits or dresses?
Red or nude lipstick?
Depends but mostly red
You play a sassy character on Orange Is the New Black. Do you and your character share a lot of similarities? If so, what are they?
My character Flaca is a feisty Latina, and she’s definitely my alter ego. I sometimes think she may be cooler than me. We are both passionate about music and we are sensitive people. We act strong while in front of people, but our vulnerability often catches us off guard.
You’re also a motivational speaker. How did you get into that? Where can we find you speaking?
I would say I have had a long short life. I had a huge car accident at the age of 17 which left me hopeless at the time. I overcame brain surgery, a coma, and a collapsed lung, but remained resolute in my determination not to let anything stand in my way of following my dreams as an actor and singer. I’m sure each one of us has a story and some dreams can seem impossible. I am so honored to share my story in universities all over America and get to share another dream of mine which is to inspire people to believe in themselves, and motivate them to follow their dream. It was hard being a Latina in Hollywood, but again you can’t let anything stop you. If God put that desire in your heart you have to follow it. No matter where you come from, or what hardships you have gone through, you can’t let anything stop you from dreaming and chasing. I promise you that your dream can’t run fast enough. You will one day catch it.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
I love going back home to the Dominican Republic.
Beauty product you can’t live without?
Where can we find you on a Thursday night?
At home writing music with my guitar.
Fill in the blank: I could eat ________ for the rest of my life.
Carne asada tacos
Season 3 is coming out in June. CANNOT WAIT. Will we finally see Flaca’s story?
You’re going to have to wait and see.
What’s the best part about being on OITNB? What’s the worst?
The best part is definitely having gained a new family. The worst part is leaving them on the off season.
You’re also a singer and design accessories. Any plans in pursuing both of those careers further?
I am working on my music as we speak. I am in the off season now, and I have time to work on both my Hollywood Gypsy Etsy page and my EP.
Who is your number one role model (aka, your ultimate boss babe)?
Rita Moreno from West Side Story. Rita is a true inspiration to all Latinas.
Favorite song in the world:
Can’t pick a song but Sade’s Lovers Rock album saved me in high school. It helped go through my first heart break.
Favorite movie in the world:
The Shawshank Redemption
If you could have drinks with someone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Hello, you know me already! ELVIS. He is the cats meow, hehe. I’m a fan of his music and he is devastatingly handsome. Oh, what a dreamboat! He can just sing to me while I stare at him and sip on my favorite drink, the Mister Moseley at The Garret.