When Gina Rodriguez took the stage to accept her Golden Globe in 2015, in between tears, gasps for air, half-sobs, and thank yous, she delivered a heartfelt speech about how the award represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes. But then, she hit us with a swift kick to the feels, “My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today’s going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad, today’s going to be a great day. I can and I did.”
Throughout her career, Rodriguez has repeatedly credited her family for shaping the person we’ve come to know and love. She regularly talks about her sister and mom being her role models, but there’s probably nothing sweeter than when Gina talks about her dad, Genaro. Her social media pages are sprinkled with little facts about her father, and it’s clear that no matter where her career takes her, she’ll never be too successful to admire her dad.
The boxing referee has influenced everything from her love of sparring TV hosts to her humanitarian efforts. In honor of father’s day, we’re looking back at six of Gina’s most heartwarming tributes to her dad:
"I can and I will"
Almost a year after she reduced us to tears with her Golden Globes speech, Stephen Colbert asked her about her dad’s mantra on The Late Show. As a 15-year-old high school student, her dad had her look at herself in the mirror and say the words to begin her day. Back then, she kind of thought the daily affirmations were silly, but now she says it’s an essential part of her life. “Now, I feel so empowered by that,” she said. “Because the truth is that I get to decide what my day’s going to be, and I also don’t allow for any interruption or negativity to touch that.”
How her dad made his way onto 'Jane the Virgin'
The day that Jane the Virgin premiered, Gina tweeted that her dad is a permanent fixture in the Villanueva household. As she and her fictional grandmother and mother gather to watch novelas, she can always look on to her dad.
And how he'll make his way into people's lives
In 2015, she revealed that she’d be honoring her dad in the ultimate way: By writing a book on his life lessons. “I’m actually working on a book right now that’s going to give the world what my father gave to me,” she told Time. “I definitely will be keeping my ears peeled for his nuggets of knowledge and wisdom, like, ‘Dad you got any goodness to share with me, please?'”
When she gave him a shoutout mid-speech
Somehow, Gina found a way to top her Golden Globes speech. Overcome with emotion, she said she didn’t deserve the humanitarian award given to her at Variety’s Unite4:Humanity event. Through her parents’ actions, she learned that good deeds don’t need praise. But she still dedicated the award to them, because it’s through them that she learned to give back to others.
In this video, she really lauds her entire family, but she adorably gives her dad a shoutout during her speech. “I remember being about 13 years old and I would go with my dad – hey dad – to his negotiations,” she said. “He was a teamster, so being a teamster he was like the protective older brother of all the union workers that he represented. And I would watch him lay his own job on the line for somebody’s equal rights.”
"You are my rock and role model"
Three years ago on Father’s Day, Gina Rodriguez posted this precious message about her dad. “Daddy-o, you didn’t just teach me how to fight in the ring but outside of it. Because you followed your dreams you gave me the freedom to follow mine,” she said. “I love you pops, you are my rock and my role model.”
When she showed off her boxing skills
This is less on the heartwarming side, but by popping James Corden in the face, she undoubtedly made her dad proud.