Actress Gina Rodriguez attends the screening of “Sleeping With The Fishes” at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival at Windmill Studios on June 1, 2013 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Gina Rodriguez wins inaugural “Lupe Award”

Gina Rodriguez has been one busy lady since her lead breakout role, alongside the late banda singer Jenni Rivera in “Filly Brown,” which first premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Named one of the “top 35 Latinos under 35″ by The Hollywood Reporter, she just starred in the first feature from writer/director Nicole Gomez Fisher, “Sleeping With the Fishes” — a comedy about a Latino Jewish home in Brooklyn, NY, which premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival yesterday.

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Rodriguez has also just been recognized at NALIP’s (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) 14th Annual Conference this weekend, in Universal City, Calif., with the inaugural “ Lupe Award.” The award honors the memory of the late Lupe Ontiveros as a pioneering Latina actress, an untiring community activist, and a long-time NALIP supporter and friend.

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“Feisty, deeply intelligent and unafraid, Gina Rodriguez brings to her work the same qualities that shone through in Lupe Ontiveiros’ work for decades,” says María Agui Carter, chair of NALIP.  “Although Lupe came of age in an industry that offered her hundreds of roles, they were most commonly as a maid.  She took them all, and she brought a depth and nuance to each role, and helped pave the way for a new generation in Hollywood.  We are proud to present the inaugural NALIP The Lupe Award to Gina Rodriguez – the new generation of Latino actor for which Lupe paved the way.”

Sharing Ontiveros’ revolutionary spirit, Rodriguez is a supporter of Inspira — an organization that works to spotlight Latino leaders who shape their communities. She also works with the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts and the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative.

“Last night was absolutely incredible with both the panel and the gala,” says Rodriguez. “It was quite overwhelming having to face the reality that Lupe is no longer with us but the spirit of her life, laughter and love emanated amongst the crowd. And it was truly a blessed experience to be honored in her name and to have a room full of peers who loved her and admired her beyond belief.  I am not worthy of that award, but I promise to work the rest of my life towards deserving it.”

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