The Jane the Virgin star spoke of hard work and much-needed Latino cultural representation in her acceptance speech on Sunday.
Gina Rodriguez, the star of the CW’s Jane the Virgin, beat out Lena Dunham (Girls), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), and Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) to win Best Actress in a TV Comedy at the 2015 Golden Globes.
Loosely based off a Venezuelan telenovela, Jane the Virgin is a dramedy following an earnest young woman who is accidentally impregnated via artificial insemination.
Despite Jane the Virgin’s absurd premise, the show has become a surprise hit, charming both critics and fans alike and earning the show a certified 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just hours before the Golden Globes, Jane the Virgin had already won a personal victory when the CW announced that the show would be renewed for a second season.
Critics especially praised Rodriguez’s depiction of Jane, though her Golden Globe also came as something of a surprise. During her speech, Rodriguez tearfully said, “This award is so much more than myself … It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.”
The Chicago-born daughter of Puerto Rican parents has always been an active member of the Latino community, working with the National Hispanic Foundation For the Arts and other groups. In 2012, Rodriguez was named one of "top 35 Latinos under 35" by the Hollywood Reporter in after gaining recognition for her starring role in the movie Filly Brown, where she learned how to rap, and Sleeping with the Fishes.
Rodriguez says that her choice in roles is very calculated and that she refuses jobs that do not depict Latinos in a positive light. She revealed in a Buzzfeed interview in June 2014 that she turned down a part in the Lifetime show, Devious Maids, which follow the lives of 5 Latina maids to the rich and elite in Beverley Hills, saying:
“So every role that I’ve chosen has been ones that I think are going to push forward the idea of my culture, of women, of beauty, my idea of liberating young girls, of feeling that they have to look at a specific beauty type. And I wasn’t going to let my introduction to the world be one of a story that I think has been told many times."
Latino groups have proudly supported the star and recognized her talent and hard work. She was the inaugural recipient of the Lupe Award—named for the late Latina actress Lupe Ontiveros—in 2013.
“My father used to tell me to say every morning to say everyday that this going to be a great day, I can and I will. Well Dad, today’s a great day, I can and I did,” Rodriguez concluded, in her acceptance speech.
To see Rodriguez’s speech, start watching at the 1:15 mark.