“I’m not doing what anyone else wouldn’t do. You get cancer, you try to cure cancer” – Krysta Rodriguez
Broadway actress Krysta Rodriguez was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2014, though her treatment did very little to stop her from her acting career. In fact, when she went public with her cancer she was cast in the ABC Family series Chasing Life as a cancer patient, shot a movie titled My Bakery in Brooklyn, and performed in the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening in Beverly Hills, which is transferring to Broadway. In an interview with the Associated Press, she spoke about how she feels when people call her an inspiration, why she did not immediately go public about her health, and how she has tried to support others livign with cancer.
Rodrigeuz points out that she doesn’t feel like an inspiration because she’s doing what anyone else with cancer tries to do — recover. She explains, “I’m not doing what anyone else wouldn’t do. You get cancer, you try to cure cancer. I don’t really know many women my age at least who would be like, ‘Oh, well. Guess it got me.’ That’s not in our nature, anyway. So I don’t really feel like I deserve any sort of accolades for that.” Because of that, she feels a bit uncomfortable when people praise her resolve. She adds, “I feel a little bit ashamed when people say they’re inspired by me. I’m like, ‘Oh, gosh. I need to be handling this better.”
The main reason why Rodriguez didn’t go public about her health is her awareness of how fickle the industry is. She recalls, “You’re told in the very beginning of being an actor, ‘There are hundreds of people in line, ready to replace you.’ So you never want to be sick. You never want to be less than your best. There was an idea that, ‘If I tell people this, they’re not going to want to hire me. I’m a liability.'”
Rodriguez has written about her experiences on her blog, ChemoCouture, which focuses on fashion and makeup advice for cancer patients. She says that she has learned a lot from her experience, saying, “What I have learned is that everything is less awful than you think it’s going to be. You sort of see this thing and you think, ‘This is going to be so terrible.’ And you get to it and you get through it. Life continues on around you. You still go to dinner with your friends, when you can. You still work, if you can. You do what you need to do. And then it’s over.”
Though her hair is still short, Rodriguez jokes that she sees the positive side of it. She says, “I’m going to go nuts, I think. I have a rare opportunity. Most women would not volunteer to have their hair look like this. I definitely feel more free.“