When it comes to Gina Rodriguez, the words gracious, humble and benevolent do not even begin to describe the 30-year-old actress.
Rodriguez first stole our hearts last fall when she burst onto the small screen like a breath of fresh air as the endearing yet hilarious heroine in The CW's Jane the Virgin. Since then, Rodriguez's candor and passion for breaking racial stereotypes in today's television have lead many to describe her as the role model whom all young girls need today.
At the 72nd Golden Globe awards this past Sunday, Rodriguez was the only first-time nominee in a category of comedic heavy-hitters, which included Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Lena Dunham and Taylor Schilling.
Just before she won the Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series — and delivered one of the most eloquent and emotional speeches of all time — Rodriguez remembers the moment as whirlwind of nerves, excitement, adrenaline and tranquility.
"This whole thing has been surreal and incredible," the starlet revealed Tuesday to a jam-packed room of reporters on the Jane the Virgin set. "But I can tell you that I was thinking, 'Whatever's in God's plan, I want it. Have patience and faith, all will be well.'"
And then Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston opened the envelope while Scandal's Kerry Washington made the most adorable face we've ever seen.
At that moment, Rodriguez's brain snapped into list-making mode as she made her long journey up to the stage. "When they said my name I was like, 'Don’t trip. Thank you God. Thank you God. Don’t trip," she explained with a smile.
"'Don’t forget anybody's name. Who are you going to forget? Don’t' forget anybody's name — Was that Oprah? That was Oprah! — Oh my God. Don't trip. Breathe. You do have mascara that doesn’t run. You're going to be fine, and wow — What a blessing."
Rodriguez's win marks the very first Golden Globe award for The CW — a network victory that she attributes to her cast and Jane the Virgin executive producer, Jennie Snyder Urman.
"Being there with all the people that make Jane possible — I am nothing without my cast — and to have them there with me through that experience was remarkable," the Chicago native said. "To know that the show was recognized as well was remarkable and brought me so much joy."
So how did the small-screen starlet celebrate her first major award? At a Golden Globe after-party, of course!
"My family came and met me afterward because I was told that if I had a Golden Globe, we could get into anywhere — it was like your Willy Wonka golden ticket — so my 700 relatives all came to the party," she said with a laugh.
"My father was guarding the trophy like it was my life," Rodriguez continued. "It's very interesting because when you get it everyone's like, 'Oooh let me touch it, let me touch it! Can I hold it? Can I hold it?' and I'm like, 'Sure! Why not?' and my father was like, 'Nooo! Excuse me, who was that? Do you know him?' And I was like, 'It's my executive producer, it's okay dad.'"
"It was quite the amazing experience and for me the biggest blessing is the recognition for the show," Rodriguez said of Jane the Virgin, which was recently picked up for a second season. "God willing this brings more eyes and more viewers so that we can keep working hard to make people laugh and cry because that's what we always want."
With her modest attitude, commitment to excellence, and infectious positivity, we know this Golden Globe win is only the beginning of the great things ahead for Gina Rodriguez.
Jane the Virgin returns with all-new episodes on Monday, Jan. 19 on The CW.