Gina Rodriguez kicked off the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors with a tribute to honoree Rita Moreno so touching it brought her idol to tears.

"When did Puerto Ricans come about?" Rodriguez recalls her younger self asking her mother, assuming that since she had never seen another Puerto Rican person on television before, they must be a recent phenomenon. Her mother introduced her to Moreno's body of work in response, and Rodriguez instantly fell in love.

"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," the Jane the Virgin star said.

EGOT winner Moreno plays Rodriguez's paternal grandmother on Jane.

"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."