Did Alexa Vega meet the real-life Gaby Rodriguez she played in The Pregnancy Project?
—Robert Wilson, Schenectady, N.Y.
The two young women did meet on the set of the Lifetime Television movie during filming. It afforded Rodriguez, 18, the opportunity to give Vega some insight into how she conceived the idea of doing a social experiment for her senior project, in which she passed herself off as pregnant in order to experience the stereotyping that comes with teen pregnancy.
“I was able to talk to Gaby during the filming of the assembly scenes when she tells her fellow students she is not pregnant,” the 23-year-old Spy Kids star says. “To me, that was the biggest day. Gaby was there with me all day long, so I asked her, ‘Right before you went in exactly what were you thinking? Was your heart racing?’ I was able to get all these inside tips that helped me dive into it the role a little bit further.”
Rodriguez was only 17 years old when she conceived the experiment that has now become both a book and a TV movie. After meeting her and playing her, Vega has come to admire the former Toppenish, Wash., high school student.
Vega says, “‘She wasn’t afraid to go for something that she believed in. I can’t imagine living that kind of life day in and day out for six-and-a-half months and keeping that secret when things got really frustrating. That would have been the time she could have said, ‘Why am I doing this? It is fake. I don’t need to put myself through this.’ But she saw that it was a bigger issue than just her.”
Rodriguez is studying psychology at Columbia Basin College in Washington, and she and boyfriend Jorge Orozco, the pretend father of her baby, are still together.