Gina Rodriguez has quickly transformed herself from new kid on the block to stellar role model. In her latest ad campaign with Clinique, she reminisces about her childhood growing up in a “predominantly latino community in Chicago — gang-infested, the neighborhood schools are probably the lowest in the city.”

[Tweet “The belief was “this was it.” This is the neighborhood I’m going to die in.”]

She explains that she often found that kids got “caught up in a cycle of can’t and won’t.”

And while Gina a lot of obstacles to overcome herself, she cites her parents as the reason she was able to break down those barriers and use education to break the cycle.

gina

“There’s a difference between my passion, which is acting, and my life’s purpose,” Gina explains.

“My life’s purpose is to free someone from those invisible shackles, because they are invisible, they are an illusion.”

Now Gina devotes her time to talking to high school students, universities and more.

Watch Gina’s entire speech above.

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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to started Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. She’s currently obsessed with Vanderpump Rules, lipstick, and her kitty Tom.