Michelle Rodriguez has spoken about her fear of appearing weak in films and said she has been more of an activist than an actress in her bid to portray female warriors.
The Hollywood star, who is best known for her role in the Fast And Furious films – as well as the TV show Lost, said she found it “hard to put down the swords” because she felt a duty to create an image of women as fighters.
She told the Press Association: “That was my ego talking and all I have been doing for the last 16 years are ego-based projects.
“I’m more of an activist than an actress, I just wanted to create an ideal and then stick to that and project that to millions of people around the world, but after a while you start to realise how do I grow as an actress from this, it’s empty as far as personal growth goes.
Rodriguez said this was the reason she took on the role of mother Linda in her new film Widows, in which she stars opposite Viola Davis, about a women who carry off a heist after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
She said: “It’s not about looking cool, it’s about fairytales and the unquantifiable power of fairytales and myth, and I believe in that power because that’s the power that got me into this industry and got me out of the ghetto and got me out of poverty.
“That was the power of seeing stories that inspired me and I felt like minority communities and also females in general, as a minority as far as representation goes – even though we are half the planet, don’t have that representation or hadn’t had that representation while I was growing up.
“I felt almost a duty to create this imagery that was complimentary, that was an ideal, and so I spent most of my years, and my acting career, as an activist really.
“I wasn’t really being a thespian, a thespian is looking for the humanity in any story and so I thought now is time to go back to the roots and discover your femininity.”
She continued: “It was hard to put down the swords because I am so used to carrying them.
“But a woman who loves unconditionally the way a mother does, a woman who will suffer the consequences of marrying the wrong guy really young and raising two kids and just trying to hustle and have a store and bring some income into the house cos your husband is never really helping out economically, that is like my mother.
“I love her to death, but did I respect her? That’s the thing I have to look at and there is something really beautiful about the unconditional love of a mother and the unconditional love of a feminine woman.
“I just always, my entire life, hated the idea of these women who were really, really truthful about laying their heart out into the world and having it tramped on and stepped on by men and women alike.
“I just always hated that vulnerability and I think that is why I went on this quest to create this soldier, this warrior that I have been most of my career and it was kind of time to hang her up and see what the other side is like so that was me playing Linda.”
Widows is out in UK cinemas now.