Gina Rodriguez Delivers Touching Speech To Rita Moreno At Kennedy Center Honors

"Rita, this is my love letter to you."

Gina Rodriguez attended the Kennedy Center Honors Tuesday night, where she got the chance to pay tribute to one of Hollywood's living legends, Rita Moreno.

The "Jane the Virgin" star opened the night with a beautifully touching (and tearful) speech directed at Moreno. She talked about how her mother introduced her to Moreno's work when she was young, and recalled asking her why there weren't more actresses on TV that looked like her.

These days, Moreno, who was honored alongside George Lucas, Carole King, Cicely Tyson and Seiji Ozawa at Tuesday night's event, plays Rodriguez's paternal grandmother on "Jane the Virgin."  

"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," Rodriguez said to the crowd. “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."

Rodriguez continued, getting teary-eyed as she wrapped up her speech, "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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