Inspiring Latina: How Comedian Aida Rodriguez Brings Activism into Her Sets

Inspiring Latina: Meet Aida Rodriguez, a Mother, Activist & Cutting-Edge Comedian
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Aida Rodriguez is not one to pass up a challenge or deny the world of her gift. The finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing was a former IMG model who took encouragement from Jamie Foxx and advice from executive producer Chris Spencer, who told her she was a natural stand-up who must share her humor with others. Since then, Rodriguez has left the catwalk for the comic’s stage.

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The Puerto Rican-Dominican began her career in her early thirties, but she realized her true dreams after battling an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, which began during her modeling days. “I really found my voice in comedy. I realized that my entire journey was a reason for me to be able to do comedy, and so I came to comedy as a grown-up, as a woman, knowing who I am,” Rodriguez told Latina.

With her raw and edgy appeal, the Latina brings a refreshing flavor to comedy. Rodriguez achieves the fine balance between maintaining a zesty allure while still incorporating powerful messages into her humor. When asked if she is ever worried about being politically correct in her comedy, she responded with an assertive "nope," just the type of attitude needed of a woman of color in the white male-dominated field of comedy.

Besides, the single mom has little time to waste on boys’ tears. If she's not performing a set until 3 a.m. or hosting an event encouraging young Latinas to code, Rodriguez is spending time with her two children – all while rocking NBC’s Last Comic Standing and becoming the first Latina to tape Shaq’s All Star Comedy Tour.

Prepare to laugh, learn and be changed by this truly inspiring Latina.

What sparked your interest in comedy, and was there a particular moment that inspired you to just go for it?

Comedy is something that I’ve always been interested in since I was little. It was not something that was encouraged in the Latin culture because it was perceived to be masculine. But even when I was a very little girl, I used to listen to Richard Pryor and a Cuban comedian named Alvarez Guedes, so I was always drawn to it. It was something that I always wanted to do. I didn't come to it until later, after marriage, after divorce, after modeling, after everything else. I was working at Jamie Foxx's radio station, the Foxxhole, and they encouraged me.

Do you regret not going for it sooner?

No, actually I was in my early thirties when I started doing stand-up, and, at first, in light of all the racism, sexism and ageism that lives in all of Hollywood, I think there was a moment where I was like, "I should have started this sooner. I would've been a lot farther along." Then, once I really found my voice in comedy, I realized that my entire journey was a reason for me to be able to do comedy, and so I came to comedy as a grown-up, as a woman, knowing who I am. I think that that later served me specifically because I battled with a lot of issues. I battled with an eating disorder when I was modeling, self-esteem issues, and body dysmorphia. My comedy is based on my life, so I think that I came to comedy right when I was supposed to.

Somebody told me Jay Leno once said, "It's never too late, but it can be too soon." And I really believe that because we are always being pushed toward being in a hurry and rushing and feeling like our time is running out. The reality of it, for me, is that it happens when it's supposed to and how it's supposed to, and you can't choreograph that no matter how hard you try.

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