Gina Rodriguez talks girl power, following your dreams and Young Women's Honors


Without a doubt, there is no other person that keeps it more real than Gina Rodriguez.

AOL recently sat down with the actress and spoke to her about girl power, following your dreams and her new awards show.

"I wanted to create this awards show to show women that went up against their fears, that went up against the idea of rejection," says the Jane the Virgin star. "That failed several times but never gave up."

And not just going up against rejection in Hollywood.

Young Women's Honors, which has been a childhood dream of Rodriguez's, highlights 10 young women that are doing exceptional work in coding, education, philanthropy and innovation. Sponsored by Google "Made With Code" and other brands such as Marie Claire and Clinique, the gala highlights the often hard, male-dominated industries these women have journeyed and ultimately, triumphed through.

"It basically is showing different avenues for women to look up to," says the actress.

While growing up in the 'hood of Chicago, Rodriguez knew that her opportunities were limited -- and her only way out was by getting an education. "I had two older sisters that did that before me," says Rodriguez. "Had they not, I'm not sure I would have known what that was like -- to go after your dreams."

The idea with this awards show, says the actress, is that by following your dreams, you give others the allowance to follow theirs as well.

One of this year's honorees, Paralympian and gold medalist Tatyana McFadden embodies just that. Born with spina bifida in an orphanage in Russia, doctors never expected her to live for very long -- nor to become the fastest woman in the Paralympics.

"So that's what I wanted to do this show for, I wanted to make good examples. Put out role models for us to follow," says Rodriguez. "Unless you have my sisters in your house, it's not easy."

Rodriguez recalls another inspiring woman who does coding in Afghanistan because girls aren't really pushed to do coding there. Fereshteh Forough created Code to Inspire in order to make sure women had that opportunity.

"There is a lot of amazing things that are going on that we just don't see in society, we do not see in pop culture," says the actress. "We're going to start making it cool to be in code, we're going to make it cool to be a philanthropist. You know what, you want to be an inventor? That's bad-ass too."

And Hollywood didn't let her down. Some of tinseltown's elite came to support Gina Rodriguez in her first-ever awards show. Katie Holmes, LaVerne Cox, Victoria Justice, Simone Biles and Jenna Dewan Tatum were just some of the ladies that honored this year's inspiring group of women.

"It could've been a complete disaster but they took a chance with me," says the Golden Globe-winning actress. "They took a chance on me, on us, to me and my partners to make this project happen."

One of the highlights of the evening? The first lady, Michelle Obama making an appearance via video talking to the honorees about her government initiative Let Girls Learn.

"Before we even started to shoot and to say that they helped make my dream come true, that we are creating an awards show to celebrate dreams and make them a reality," says Rodriguez. "I was standing there looking at my dream become a reality ... there was no way this was possible without every single person in that room, it was bad-ass."

Young Women's Honors will air on Dec. 19 on the CW network.

By Magdalena Guillen