Last night (Jan. 15), Sheryl Lee Ralph took home a big win at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards and left a lasting impact through a memorable acceptance speech. She won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Barbara Howard in ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” at the ceremony.

The 66-year-old actress began by reflecting on the early days of her career and shouting out one person who saw her potential very early on. “Every mistake, every bad break, every ‘No,’ every rejection in an industry that when I was 19 years old was quick to tell me there was no place for me, Sidney Poitier looked at me and said, ‘You’re a damn good actress,'” she said.

Ralph also delved into how thankful she is to have crossed paths with her “Abbott Elementary” cast and crew. “God led me to a moment where a young woman by the name of Quinta Brunson would look at me and say, ‘Ms. Ralph, I’m not sleeping on your talent,” she recalled. “To the best cast on TV, Lisa, Chris, Stan, Tyler, Quinta, thank you,” the actress continued.

She concluded her speech with a powerful message about self-love. “To all of you watching here, come close to the screen and listen. People don’t have to like you. People don’t have to love you. They don’t even have to respect you. But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see,” she said.

Other highlights from last year include Ralph winning Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards and being honored at Jamaica’s National Honours and Awards ceremony with the nation’s fifth highest honor, the Order of Jamaica (OJ).

Be sure to check out a recap of Sheryl Lee Ralph’s acceptance speech at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards below.