Rita Moreno And Gina Rodriguez Shared In Mutual Puerto Rican Love And We Should All Aim For This Kind Of Relationship
Two generations of Boricua icons in television just gave the world touching love letters to each other, and our eyes are sweating.
Rita Moreno gave Gina Rodriguez, and every other Latina, exactly enough inspiration, validation and hope to make us sob. Straighten up. They want us to be the women we want to see in the world. Here’s the highlight reel.
Three years ago, Gina Rodriguez introduced Rita Moreno at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Gina Rodriguez is the star of “Jane the Virgin,” and Rita Moreno plays her abuelita, on Rogelio de la Vega’s side. In her tribute, she shared the story of meeting Moreno for the first time:
“Ma, when did Puerto Ricans come about?”
“What do you mean, Gina?”
“Well I never see us on my favorite TV shows or movies. We must not have existed back then, right?”
“Rita, this is my love letter to you.” 😭
“And then she introduced me to you. I met you on screen and I just loved you. Your bright smile, your fierce persona, that fierce persona that just bursts through every performance, every interview. And I just wanted to be just like Rita.”
Three years later, Moreno recorded a love letter back to Rodriguez and unleashed it on all of us.
She starts her love letter by calling Rodriguez “my little coquí,” which marks the first tear welling up in every boricua. The national animal of Puerto Rico is the coqui frog. which is adorable. 🐸
“Here is an old fashioned letter from me to you.”
But now that she is a role model, she says this,
“Throughout my career, of all the roles I’ve played, there is one which had no director no script, no notes given. There wasn’t even an audition. And as I ponder your letter, Gina, I realized it may have been the most seminal role I ever played.”
The reactions at this point were all tears.
Just like my own mother, Moreno was born to seamstress in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Since she was born in 1931 (IKR, we age gracefully), she’s become an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony winner) and a Latina icon.
“I am so inspired in this third act of my life by young women like you dear, dear Gina.”
“I was merely a frightened Latina girl lost in the maze of Hollywood, operation in survival mode. You know in my day, I had no role models, no coach, no publicity team. The only way I knew to survive was by being true to myself.”
Hearing Moreno commend Rodriguez for being a wise next act for what she started is raising many emotions.
We all cry when our abuelitas tell us sweet things about their lives and how we inspire them. Even after all of the years they have lived and celebrated, somehow, we are an inspiration for them. Perhaps it is because we are their wildest dreams realized.
Moreno is asking Rodriguez to continue telling the stories of Latinos, which must be heard.
“Watching you, a Latina, navigate our ‘business’ and with such confidence and grace, you go girl. We Latinos have extraordinary histories and stories that need telling. It is so encouraging it’s no longer a job of the few of us but a passion for so many of us.”
She’s right. The proof is in all the boricuas that came out to ship the passing of the baton.
Moreno isn’t just talking to Rodriguez at this point any more. She’s talking to all of us. It’s on all of us to represent Latinos accurately in all the work we do. Whether you’re an accountant, an actress, a teacher or chef: stake your claim on this world. We belong here.
Moreno basically just told us that Rodriguez is the new star Latina in town.
“You are young, you are wise, you’re able to see our community and it’s potential. And you have chosen to inspire your generation to do the same.”
In a very Moreno way, she just continues to inspire us all.
Whether you’re half Latino, a quarter or full blown, todos somos 100 percent Latino y 100 percent American. Moreno has embodied all of us.
She literally also paused to give Rodriguez a thumbs up half way through.
Moments after she said, “you go girl.” She cannot be 87 years old. Is there an award that grants immortality, because Rita deserves it.
And then she stated the obvious: Rodriguez is already our role models.
“In just a few years my dear, young Latinas will look up at their screens with hope in their eyes and say, “I want to be like Gina Rodriguez.” Come to think of it, I think they already do.”
But hearing it come out of Moreno’s “West Side Story,” beloved abuelita mouth makes it real.
I think we literally posted the same exact response. Hundreds of Latinos have commented, “estoy llorando.” Probably 80 percent of Puerto Ricans are crying in this moment.
Now we’re wishing Moreno was our fake abuelita…
In Gina’s love letter, she said,
“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 I know how but I can tell you this: when you followed your dreams Rita, you gave me the allowance to follow mine”
In a world that feels like a dumpster fire, this is “the most important and beautiful thing” we could witness today.
We are so grateful to be alive during a time when there are more Latinos being given opportunities to play someone other than a maid or drug lord in the industry. #MásAbuelitas
We are especially grateful that there’s such a need for abuelas in entertainment right now.
The fact that Moreno will forever give abuelitas everywhere their shining spotlight on “One Day at a Time” and “Jane the Virgin,” is life-giving.
Some folks said they would even continue the tradition Rodriguez’s mom started by showing Moreno’s movies to their daughter.
And, so I lay a request to the Puerto Rican people: let this be a state-wide tradition. Our daughter grow up knowing Rita Moreno. Just keep rewatching Jane the Virgin, it’s not hard.
What we all agree on: Rita Moreno is #MyPresident 🇵🇷
And we are all her First Lady. May you never, ever, leave us, Moreno. May we all achieve our dreams and receive similar love letters from you. Te quiero mucho y bendiciones. 🇵🇷