Gabrielle Ruiz has had a lifelong penchant for performing. Growing up in Edinburg, Texas, she studied dance and took vocal training, two talents that intertwined to result in a prosperous career as a professional film, TV and theater performer. In addition to roles in A Chorus Line, Evita and If/ Then, Ruiz also appeared in In The Heights, where she worked alongside Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Today, she stars as Valencia on The CW hit Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Despite her burgeoning success, Ruiz’s pride and love for her home state haven’t weathered over the years.
“I’m a third-generation Texan, and I have a lot of pride in saying that when people ask me where I’m from,” she says. Though Ruiz grew up in deep South Texas, she and her family often vacationed in Houston, ice skating at the Galleria, dining at The Palm Restaurant or going to an Astros game.
In 1994, Ruiz saw Beauty and the Beast at what is now The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The show was her first Broadway musical, and the experience sparked a dream. Ruiz remembers the beast’s rapturous transformation on the stage, the power of the performances and the crowd of people waiting for autographs after the show. All of these moments shifted her perspective and unearthed a desire to perform.
“It was the first exposure to a professional performance on such a big scale,” Ruiz says. “It fueled the fire and resonated in me.” Today, as Ruiz lives her dream in New York City and Los Angeles as a performer in her own right, she continues to carry with her tokens of Texas—and a spirit of loyalty for the place she calls home.
HEB’s Ole Texas Pecan coffee blend, spending an entire day at the Galleria, Palm Restaurant’s broiled jumbo Nova Scotia lobster breakfast tacos
The steamy weather, I-10’s traffic, long flights from Los Angeles and New York, cilantro in my guacamole