Jennifer Lopez to Rita Moreno: You Made Me Feel 'Anything Was Possible For Latinas'

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Many Latinas look up to Jennifer Lopez as their icon -- with good reason. She's intelligent, successful, beautiful and talented.

But, Lopez herself has a famous inspiration: fellow boricua Rita Moreno. 

When the Puerto Rican star received the Vanguard Award at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, she took a moment to convey her gratitude to Rita Moreno, who presented her with the award. The two sweetly kissed before Lopez began her tribute to the legendary star.

"I can't tell you what it means to have this award presented to me by the one and only Rita Moreno," she said. "Anyone who has ever heard me talk about my influences knows that West Side Story, and specifically her performance in it, had more impact on me than anything else when I was young -- on my artistic life, my career path, and ultimately my confidence."

"She changed my life," Lopez continued. "Watching this beautiful, strong Puerto Rican woman command a screen with her talent in a time when Latina women did not have every door in this industry open to them made me feel as a little girl, watching in her living room in the Bronx, that anything was possible. Anything. Thank you for that."

Lopez continued by talking about her gay aunt Myrza, the inspiration behind her decision to produce ABC Family drama, The Fosters

"Love is love, and that's what I tell my children everyday. It's what we have to make everyone understand so that the world can be a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive, and more loving place. And, we are on our way."

Wow! What an amazing tribute! Watch the full speech below: 

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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