"She believed in me to go after my dreams," she tells PEOPLE

By Lynette Rice
Updated January 12, 2015 11:50 AM
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Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

When Gina Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for best actress in a TV show, comedy or musical, for the CW’s Jane the Virgin, no one was more excited than her sister.

During Sunday’s show, the camera flashed to Rodriguez’s sobbing sibling, Ivelisse Simon, as the young star accepted the prize for starring in a dramedy that just premiered this fall.

Earlier, on the red carpet, Gina told PEOPLE about having her sister there during the big night.

“My sister has been my support system since I was a little kid,” Rodriguez said. “She’s believed in me and told me to go after my dreams and to never give up, and so for that I am forever grateful. Not to mention she also helped me pay for college and made sure that I got a good education.”

“For me to have her here with me means the world,” she continued, tearing up. “I have my parents here with me with my other sister, and so for that I am so grateful.”

Back in the fall, Rodriguez opened up to PEOPLE about what her family makes of her career.

“My parents are not in the industry,” Rodriguez explained. “My older sister is an investment banker and my middle sister is a doctor, and they lead very different lives than myself. I think they are kind of blown away.

“Recently it’s gotten pretty real for them because they see the billboards and my sister in Chicago has seen them. They say that they always believed it but, come on, we were all a little afraid. I think everyone is kind of in shock still. It’s crazy because if you make it … making it means different things to everyone, but if someone is successful, then it makes other people think it could be possible.”

Ivelisse’s emotional reaction wasn’t limited to just inside the show. After her win, Rodriguez also brought her sister to the press room, where they shed tears of joy in front of reporters. The actress also had inspiring words when talking about winning the award as a woman of color.

“First and foremost the nomination alone was a win for me because it allowed our culture, it allowed Latinas to see themselves in a beautiful light,” she said. “It allowed them to see ourselves where we all desired to be invited to the same party.

“If we can create an effect that shows Latinos like the investment bankers, doctors, lawyers that existed in my own home I think that will change the way young girls and boys look at themselves.

“I think that s needed, especially now where we have dealt with Eric Garner and Michael Brown, where we are dealing with a society that is diverse, that is so beautiful and human, we all need to remember that we all have the same stories and see them as such.”

Reporting by MELODY CHIU and GABRIELLE OLYA

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