"Fashion is an astonishing gift. It has the ability to lift a Cinderella up from the ashes. If our clothes make the person, it is fashion that imagines what she can become," said the legendary Rita Moreno as she received the Iconic Woman of Style 2014/Lifetime Achievement Award from Vanidades, the first and most widely read Spanish-language women's lifestyle magazine in the United States and Latin America.

Latin Post attended the Vanidades Annual Icons of Style Gala, which was held at the Mandarin Oriental in New York on Sept. 18, and had the incredible honor of sitting at Moreno's table! Over 200 guests were in attendance at the event, which was hosted by Lili Estefan and Raul De Molina of Univision's "Gordo y la Flaca" and featured a performance by Grupo Erik.

"I am thrilled to pieces," Moreno told Latin Post. "What's fun about this award this evening is that I grew up with Vanidades and it never occured to me that I would have a style honor! That is just crazy, and I love it. I am surprised and I am honored."

"Que cosa buena," she gushed. "I love to be loved!" And judging from the cheers and standing ovation, love is an understatement. Moreno is cherished by her fans and the Latin community who embrace her as one of the classic Hollywood actresses of our time. She's a triple threat -- one who can act, dance and sing -- and when someone in the audience yelled, "Habla Español!" (Speak Spanish!), she effortlessly flowed into her native tongue using humor and wit. Moreno is a class act, a poised professional and a great-storyteller with a big heart.

The timeless Moreno, who looks astonishing at 82, lit up the room with her words of wisdom, positive energy and captivating story of her childhood. Like a Latina Cinderella herself, she came from humble beginnings, moving from Puerto Rico to New York City with her mother at age 5. Although they had little money, Moreno had talent and the ability to dream big.

She too was "lifted up from the ashes" to become a gifted actress, singer and dancer who faced racial discrimination yet broke barriers as a Latina in Hollywood. A show-biz veteran and a Screen Actors Guild member for more than sixty years, Moreno went on to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award, an accomplishment known in the industry as an EGOT and shared by only 10 other people. In 1961, Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "West Side Story," a Tony as Googie Gomez in "The Ritz," a Grammy for "The Electric Company" album, and two Emmys for appearances on "The Muppet Show" and "The Rockford Files."

Born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, Moreno started out performing in nightclubs and made her Broadway debut at age 13 in "Skydrift." In 1950, she used her stepfather's surname when she first appeared on the big screen in "So Young, So Bad." She then landed a contract at MGM, where a casting director changed her first name to Rita, inspired by the iconic Rita Hayworth.

Moreno's first film for MGM was the Mario Lanza musical, "The Toast of New Orleans," and two years later, she had a small role as the flapper actress Zelda Zanders in "Singin' in the Rain." From there, she would go on to star in such films as "The King and I," "West Side Story" and "Carnal Knowledge."

During her Vanidades acceptance speech, Moreno recalled 77 years ago, just 100 blocks from the Manadrin Oriental in New York City's upscale Columbus Circle, when she was a 5-year-old girl living in the tenements with her mother, "an immigrant from Puerto Rico, a self-taught seamstress who worked in the sweatshops to support herself and her 'muchachita' (little girl). A little girl who helped her Mami, we did this, cut out crate paper flowers so we could sell them to Woolworth's for extra money," she said.

"Sometimes my Mommy would pull the cardboard box, this treasure chest, from under the bed and magically transform the leftover pieces of fabric, the remnants, into a costume for her little girl who loved to play, to make believe, to dream ... Those were my best friends, my paper dolls. They didn't call me names because I looked different or talked differently," she explained.

Being honored by Vanidades, which launched its first magazine in 1931, and has been a go-to for beauty and fashion trends for many Latinas, couldn't have been more fitting for Moreno, who's been referred to as a Latin Elizabeth Taylor and has had an affection for the publication since her youth.

"As a little girl, I grew up with Vanidades, and I never thought in my wildest dreams that you, Vanidades would be honoring me. I am so thrilled. Lo quiero mucho (I love you very much), thank you," she added.

Moreno has been an inspiration for many, especially in the world of Broadway -- "In the Heights" Producer Lin Manuel Miranda is a perfect example of this. "In the Heights" was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning four for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. It was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Miranda had the honor of presenting Moreno with the Iconic Woman of Style 2014/Lifetime Achievement Award.

"It's a huge honor for me, like everyone you know in this room we all grew up idolizing Rita Moreno. She has continued to reinvent herself over 50 years of this incredible career, and she looks incredible, like she looks incredible at every time now, and like at every turn!" Miranda told Latin Post.

"I remember seeing her for the first time in the purple dress in 'West Side Story' when I was 12, and I remember seeing her at the SAG Awards [where she won the 50th Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award] two years ago when she stole the show with her amazing acceptance speech where she sang and flirted with Brad Pitt, I mean it was incredible. So, she's the best and I am thrilled that I get to present her the award."

Moreno's spunkiness and enthusiasm for life was evident as she and fashion designer Narcisco Rodriguez, the recipient of the Iconic Man of Style 2014 award, got up to dance between the beautifully decorated tables. Rodriguez twirled Moreno as she made some impressive Flamenco moves.

While everyone has a connection to Moreno in some way, there was no one beaming with as much pride as her daughter, Fernanda Fisher.

"I am just so happy for her because I feel like in the last few years, she has gotten the recognition she's always deserved. She is really investing in the whole experience. She is so grateful; she is just thrilled ... I am just celebrating her, everyone is as well, and it just feels really good," Fisher told Latin Post.

"She's an amazing mother, we're very, very close. I always felt like even though she had this phenomenal career, I always came first for her, which was a great thing for a child to know and it was important," Fisher explained. "But at the same token, I learned from her trials and tribulations and that she never, ever gave up. So I can see the fruits of her labor of her time, and she's an incredible role model for all of us."

Check out a complete list of Vanidades Icons of Style Honorees:

Chef Douglas Rodriguez - Icon of Style Award for Excellence in Lifestyles presented by Paquito D'Rivera

Arlenis Sosa - Icon of Style Award for Fashion Modeling & Humanitarianism presented by Edmundo Castillo

Domingo Zapata - Icon of Style Award for the Arts presented by Kelly Rutherford

David Villa - Icon of Style Award for Sports presented by Luis Omar Tapia

Roselyn Sanchez - 'Mujer Vanidades' Award presented by Jackie Blanco

Diego Boneta - Icon of Style Award for Film & TV as an Emerging Actor presented by Raul de Molina

Thalía - Icon of Style Award for Music & Entertainment presented by Mari Ichaso

Narciso Rodriguez - Iconic Man of Style Award presented by Candy Pratts-Price

Rita Moreno - Iconic Woman of Style Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Lin Manuel Miranda

Additional presenters and guests included Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva of "Orange is the New Black," actress Kelly Rutherford, Vogue Editor at Large Candy Pratts-Price, fashion designer Catherine Malandrino and businessman and Sofia Vergara's ex-fiancé, Nick Loeb.