“I’m Mexican, and I am an immigrant,” said Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro in a touching speech during a ceremony to unveil his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as fans chanted his name to the tune of “¡Viva Guillermo!” He is the first of the famous Three Amigos (Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and del Toro) to receive the honor.

Singer Lana del Rey, who performs a song included in the upcoming del Toro-produced movie Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and director J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) presented the recognition to the Guadalajara native before he took the podium. Throughout the event del Toro cracked jokes to the mostly Spanish-speaking crowd with phrases like “¡A huevo!” or by jokingly telling them he cut his fingernails and hair just for the occasion.

“I will spiritually be here for you any time you want to come,” said del Toro of his star, which he hopes will serve to inspire anyone who has ever felt different to embrace their beautiful strangeness. He remembered visiting Hollywood Blvd as a young filmmaker trying to finish his first feature Cronos, and being inspired by the Mexican talent he saw immortalized on the ground. “As an immigrant seeing the stars of Pedro Infante and Katy Jurado meant a lot,” he added.

Noting the significance of the moment considering the hateful rhetoric that dominates politics, del Toro emphatically urged all immigrants to stand tall. “You should believe in the possibilities and not the obstacles. Do not believe the lies they tell about us. Believe in the stories you have inside and believe that we all can make a difference.”

With stirring passion, the master behind modern classics like El laberinto del fauno and El espinazo del diablo added: “Fear is used to divide us. It’s used to tell us that we are all different, that we shouldn’t trust each other, and these lies make us easier to control and make it easier to hate each other. The antidote to that is to come together, to realize that those divisions are complete fantasy. When people say, ‘You dwell in fantasy,’ I say, ‘I don’t. Politicians do. Churches do. I don’t. I deal with facts of the soul.’”

Later del Toro was handed a Mexican flag by one of his ecstatic fans in the audience. The director grabbed the tricolor emblem and kissed it lovingly as he stepped on his star.

“His approach to telling stories taught me how to tell stories,” Mexican director Issa López told Remezcla at the ceremony. “With the importance and the presence Mexican film directors have had here it was inevitable for this to happen. It’s so great that Guillermo is the first one, because he is an ambassador that has transcended generations.” Del Toro acknowledged López during his speech calling her film Vuelven (Tigers Are Not Afraid) one of the best horror movies of the decade.

When asked by the Spanish-language press if he would celebrate the landmark honor with food or drinks, he replied in typical del Toro candid fashion: “Since I’m on a diet and the jacket didn’t close, just a little bit.”