ET's Courtney Tezeno spoke with the 41-year-old actress at PaleyFest in Los Angeles last week, where she opened up about how she's been able to deconstruct Latina stereotypes through her character, Xo.
"I'm really proud of the journey that Xo has had over the five seasons. And I'm really proud of Jennie Urman and all the writers who have decided to take on a female character who can easily be made stereotypical and make her have a lot of layers, a lot of depth and make her human," Navedo said.
"She's not just a one-note, sexy, beautiful Latina woman who... that's all she does. She's so much more than that," she continued. "She's a mom. She's always been a dedicated, hardworking mom. She's an aspiring artist. She's always had to deal with some real-life situations like having an illness. I love that fact that they have taken that on."
Xo has had quite the arc over the series' five seasons, as the character began as Jane's (Gina Rodriguez) outgoing young mother. At the end of season four, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Navedo told ET that being able to represent that storyline was extremely personal for her.
"I have a cousin who passed at age 36 after battling four years of cancer and she left three young girls [behind]," she revealed. "It was really important to me that I portrayed it in a very real way, a very grounded way, and that it wasn't melodramatic and super over the top with sorrow. I wanted it to be real and human."
The actress, who has two children of her own, said she embraced all aspects of the storyline, including being de-glammed and to instead wear "chemo makeup." To Navedo, it was just another component of showing just how dynamic Latinas can be.
"[It was] deconstructing the Latina stereotype of sexy, glamorous, and all of that, and getting in touch with just being human. What does it mean to be female? Do you have to be beautiful and sexy all the time to be female and to be valued?" she asked, praising how fans have supported Xo's journey. "I'm just so grateful for that, as an actress."
Navedo promised a "conclusion" to Xo's cancer storyline around season five's ninth episode -- but wouldn't reveal if her choice of words was indicative of things ending tragically for her character. "You'll have to tune in to find out," she teased.
There will, however, be more of Xo's motherly moments. The actress said her character is Team Michael (Brett Dier) amid his surprise reintroduction to Jane the Virgin on the season five premiere, after his supposed death in season three.
"As a mom, you would want a guy who has stuck with your daughter through thick and thin," she shared, before confessing that Raphael (Justin Baldoni) has also won over Xo a bit. "I mean, they're both great guys. Jane's a very lucky lady."
The Jane the Virgin cast has nearly finished filming season five, and while Navedo's not sure if she'll be part of the show's upcoming spinoff, Jane the Novela, she plans to take a piece of Xo with her (just like she did for the PaleyFest carpet!).
"This is a dress from season five. It has not aired yet," she confessed. "I hit up [the wardrobe department] and was like, 'I love that dress two episodes ago. Can I wear it to PaleyFest?'"
"So, I've got my eye on some clothes," Navedo admitted.
Jane the Virgin airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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