Interview With Gaby Rodriguez
So the big question: Why fake a pregnancy in your senior year of high school?
I really wanted to do a senior project that would impact my school; I wanted to do something that would not only teach me something but teach my fellow classmates something too.
Did anything else factor into you coming up with this idea?
Yes, I was taking into consideration how my mom has been my number one support system my entire life because my dad was never in the story. I was thinking about how strong she was as a single mom — how she had to fight and struggle for her kids. My mom taught me to be strong for myself. I had all of that in mind when I came up with my project.
Did your mom really help you make your fake-pregnancy belly?
Yes, she did. My mom and I stretched clay over a half of a basketball and then used wire mesh to make it. It was the kind of clay used in sculptures. There was a sponge over the clay too. Behind the wire was cotton. We just kept adding cotton as the “pregnancy” went along.
What was the hardest part physically about faking the pregnancy?
Pretending to have all the different emotions and morning sickness, as well as having to carry out the illusion of me gaining weight.
Any moment where you thought about abandoning the project?
Several times in the beginning, especially with some of the negative comments I was getting and the rumors being started about me. It was disappointing, because I worked so hard my entire life with my education to be the best student I could possibly be, and then all of sudden people thought I wasn’t going to go to college or graduate … or do anything with my life.
Are you still with your boyfriend after asking him to go along with your fake pregnancy?
We’ll be together four years this February. But that time was really hard for him and his extended family. They were confused as to why I did it. His immediate family was just so relieved that we were not pregnant — that we could go onto college, get married, buy a house and then start having kids.
What is your message to teen parents following your story?
My message is that life does not have to come to an end become you get pregnant young. Teen parents should find the strength for their children and push themselves further to succeed in life. It’s not the end of the road.
What’s your take on reality programs like “Teen Mom”?
I think they’re useful. They show the struggles of being pregnant as well as having to manage school and babies and everything else that goes on in life at a young age. But I think it would be helpful if they minimized some of the drama and focused more on the informative side of teen pregnancy. It’s not only about the drama.
So how do you feel about having your life made into a Lifetime movie?
It seems so unreal. I was even an extra in the movie, in the scene where the fake pregnancy is exposed. The whole time I was thinking, How do I act here when it was my story?! Between scenes, Alexa Vega would ask me about my emotions and how I was I feeling in those moments so she could connect to the story more. I thought that was amazing.
Who did you imagine playing you in the film?
My boyfriend and I joked around a lot with friends and family about it. For my boyfriend, I thought Wilmer Valderrama. For me, it was always Selena Gomez or some other Disney actress.
What are you up to these days?
I am studying psychology in college and looking into child development. I’m going toward that route.
How do you think this project changed you and your future?
Having all this life experience under my belt made me more mature going into college. It helped make me more comfortable talking about myself and speaking with people in general. I’ve done the “Today Show,” and after that, it’s no big deal speaking up in a college class.