Michelle Rodriguez is a tough woman. She is known for her roles as a fighter, sometimes literally. She has duked it out in The Fast and the Furious, Machete, Resident Evil, Avatar, and her first film Girlfight.
In a recent issue of Interview Magazine, Rodriguez was queried by Milla Jovovich. She revealed that she is a very spiritual person. But says the thing that scarred her the most was the religion she was raised in.
“Sometimes I wake up in awe that I’m alive. I can’t get over that part, so I guess it makes me kind of like an existentialist. I’m always researching ancient religions, and I was also raised Jehovah’s Witness, so that kind of scarred me for life.”
Because of her spiritual leanings, Rodriguez has a tough time with the Hollywood excesses that surround her.
“After Cannes every year, I end up going to some foreign country I’ve never been to before and introducing myself to a new religion—I’ll go to Bali and research Hinduism, or I’ll go to Thailand and get another tattoo from [Thai tattoo artist] Ajarn Noo [Kanpai].”
Rodriguez points out that her upbringing put her in an odd position as a child, making her doubt what she was told at school.
“The roughest thing was learning the realities of the world at such a young age. I was 10 or 11, going to church, hearing the adults standing on the podium talking about world affairs, about history, about war, and how America was founded. Then I go to school, and they’re teaching me the complete opposite. I already knew, from church, that this place was raped and pillaged by Spaniards and the Pilgrims. ‘Don’t sit here and try to tell me that they broke bread together, brother.’ [laughs] So I hated school right away. Religion had a lot to do with it because I felt like everybody was always lying to me.”
Rodriguez echoes what many who leave the Witnesses after being raised in it say: She led a double life because she could not be herself.
“Sometimes I’d knock on the door of somebody I was going to school with, so it was like living a double life. At school, I was this tomboy kid who just loved to hang out with her friends and learn curse words, trying to fit in with the cool kids and defending all the kids who got picked on.”