WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez was able to give thanks and pay tribute to her TV grandmother, Puerto Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno, during the 38th annual Kennedy Center Honors.
The touching tribute Rodriguez delivered onstage earlier this month was seen for the first time Tuesday, as the event that honors artists for their lifetime achievements made its television debut.
Mentioning how she had never seen a Puerto Rican represented on screen before her mother introduced her to Moreno's work, Rodriguez held back tears explaining how the "living legend" inspired her to follow her dreams.
"I met you on screen, and I just loved you," the 31-year-old said during her speech. "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 added. "You are my icon, my living legend and what matters most, my friend. Rita this is my love letter to you."
Earlier this month, the official Twitter account of The Golden Globes mistakingly confused Rodriguez with fellow actress America Ferrera tagging her in a series of tweets instead of Ferrera who was on hand during the nominee announcements.