After bit parts in movies and guest roles on The Bold and the Beautiful, Law & Order, Happy Endings and other shows, Gina Rodriguez’s life changed overnight when she was cast as Jane the Virgin, a Miami waitress who gets pregnant from an accidental artificial insemination.

The adorable center of a campy, improbably complicated plot, she’s won critical raves and a Golden Globe for her work. As Jane’s second season begins tonight at 9/8c on the CW, she has given birth and is still involved with both the baby’s daddy Rafael and her former fiancée, Michael, but still hasn’t had sex.

In this candid Q&A, Rodriguez talks men, virginity and her new star status.

“I’ve learned that when you stick to your convictions, when you stick to respecting yourself and working hard, you are bound to see success.”

You’ve had quite the year. How has Jane changed your life?
It has singlehandedly given me wings to fly and do what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a freakin’ godsend! I wouldn’t want to play any other girl. I feel like if you wait for the right thing and work hard, those kinds of opportunities come to you.

Have you splurged on anything?
I haven’t bought anything big or grand. My family is still awesome and keeps me grounded. The one thing that has changed is my ability to help them—help my grandmother and my sister move to Los Angeles, help my nieces and nephews go to good schools. That’s the biggest blessing.

What do you love most about Jane?
I love her honesty. I love her patience. I love her kindness, her fearlessness. I wish I was a little bit more like her.

What do you think of the ongoing Jane-Michael-Rafael love triangle?
I’m definitely team Rafael right now but I go back-and-forth, because you do see Michael’s good heart. Michael reminds her of the man that she knew and waited for her. Women tend to romanticize things too. We tend to miss not only what was comfortable, but also what was safe. Jane is very loyal and I love that about her; she keeps focused and doesn’t want to lead people on. I relate because in real life if I have a break up I make sure to stay alone for a certain amount of time to make sure I heal.

Do you feel Jane is missing out on a little by not having sex?
A little? Maybe a lot! But I love the fact that we are introducing the topic. I have a few friends that are saving their virginity for marriage, because of their beliefs. Jane wants that love and intimacy but at the right time and not to just do it for the sex. I like that Jane is sticking to that but I’m interested in seeing when it does happen, what it’s going to look like. Will it be the way she imagined? Is it going to be beautiful? Will it be with the right person?

What do you look for in a guy?
Modesty, humility, kindness, sensitivity.

What turns you off?

What’s your definition of the perfect gentleman?
Someone that takes care of their family very well.

You did a movie on your break. Details?
Yes, Deepwater Horizon. I play Andrea Fleytas, one of the people who were on the oil rig during the BP explosion, a real person. On my next hiatus, hopefully, I’ll find some other awesome characters. It’s been wonderful to see how many directors have approach my agents about having meetings. A lot more opportunities have definitely opened.

What are you proudest of so far?
I’ve been able to help my grandmother and that’s my proudest accomplishment. My abuela is my life! I’ve learned that when you stick to your convictions, when you stick to respecting yourself and working hard, you are bound to see success. I am a testament to that, and it allows me to tell others, “if I can do it, you can do it ten times better,” and I know that this is the truth because I’m living it.

Photos by Nino Muñoz/The CW