The Jane the Virgin star divulges her best entertaining tips. 

By Sarah Yang
Updated October 16, 2017
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Gina Rodriguez
Credit: Getty Images

Actress Gina Rodriguez leads a busy life with her work on her hit TV show, Jane the Virgin, and countless other projects—so she doesn’t pass up the chance to host friends and family at her house when she has free time in her packed schedule. “I like hosting so much and having people over to my house because I’m working so often and it’s nice to both celebrate and be at home,” Rodriguez, who is partnering with Stella Artois on an entertaining campaign, “Host One to Remember,” told Real Simple. “I love to be at my house, so it’s great to have people over so I can both be at home and be able to see everyone at once.”

We got the chance to speak with the actress about any hosting bloopers or mistakes she’s ever experienced, how to avoid awkward family dinners, and what’s on her reading list right now.

Real Simple: Have you ever had any hosting bloopers?

Gina Rodriguez: No bloopers so far, thank god. But we had a really great fight night party at the house. A lot of people ended up inviting more people, so the party ended up being much bigger than we expected and we didn’t have enough food to feed everyone. We got pizza on the fly, and everybody ate and was happy. But when the burgers started coming out, everybody was like “I want a burger, are there more burgers?” And we just said, “Uh pizza is also on the menu…we have that too!”

RS: How do you plan parties? Any tips?

GR: I definitely cater to my audience. I’m a big fan of hosting specifically for the people who are coming, so I’ll find out if they are vegetarian, what they like, or what kind of games people like to play and then I cater to each one.

RS: There are some awkward family meals on Jane the Virgin. Do you ever have those in real life and how do you deal with them?

GR: My family is like… we’re all crazy. We’re all completely out of our minds and have no filter. I don’t know if that there’s any way that I can prevent a party from being crazy, because my family members are just so incredibly themselves. Nobody has to front or be anyone they’re not, which is much more interesting, much more exciting. I just had my family over this past Monday and it’s always so much fun. They’re my best friends—we have a really great time. We actually really like each other, so it’s kind of cool.

RS: Do you have a signature holiday dish you like to make?

GR: I’m not the greatest chef, but I definitely like to bake, so my contributions are usually the beer and the bread—or extra cheeses that get put on a plate. I’m definitely not the person that people want to eat their meal from.

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RS: What’s on your reading list right now?

GR: I’m about to finish the fourth installment of Elena Ferrante’s book series. I’m obsessed. It’s so good, you have to read all four—they’re so remarkable. It’s the kind of book that makes you talk to yourself or talk to the person next to you who’s not reading it, and say, “Oh my god! Why did you do that?” I also recommend The Mastery of Love, it’s my favorite book on self-love and self-care. It’s a go-to.

RS: Speaking of self-love and self-care, what does it mean to you? And how do you practice it?

GR: I think it varies day by day. I think it’s being aware of your body, your mind, and what you need in that present moment, because each day is going to be different, each moment is going to be different. A vital part of being good to others is being good to yourself. You’re able to give love when you have love for yourself. You’re able to give any amount of love because you are full and you need nothing in return. It’s, I think, to me, the key to peace.