Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez gave a touching tribute to Puerto Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno at the 38th Kennedy Center Honors.

Gina Rodriguez Pays Tribute To Rita Moreno With Touching Speech

A tearful Rodriguez explained that her introduction to Moreno’s work marked the first time she’d seen a Puerto Rican represented on screen, inspiring her to pursue her dreams.

“I met you on screen, and I just loved you,” the 31-year-old told the crowd, which included President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. “Your bright smile, your fierce persona, that independent voice that burst through every performance and every interview. And I just wanted to be just like Rita.”

“You gave me hope, you gave me a reason to fight and to speak up, you gave me a voice and how can I thank you? I’m not sure how but I can tell you this: when you followed your dreams Rita, you gave me the allowance to follow mine,” she continued. “You are my icon, my living legend and what matters most, my friend. Rita this is my love letter to you.”


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The ceremony, which took place December 6, aired on CBS Tuesday, and also honored Carole KingCicely Tyson, Seiji Ozawa, The Eagles and George Lucas.

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