Jane the Virgin starlet Gina Rodriguez spoke at the Kennedy Center Honors earlier this year about how she was introduced to her icon, Rita Moreno. “When did Puerto Ricans come about,” Rodriguez asked her mother when she realized that no one on television looked like her.
Yahoo! obtained an exclusive clip of Rodriguez’s moving speech to her ultimate idol: “I met you on screen and I just loved you,” she said. “Your bright smile, your fierce persona, that independent voice that burst through every performance and every interview. 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 added. “You are my icon, my living legend and what matters most is my friend. Rita this is my love letter to you.”
Grab a tissue and watch below.