NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Actress and singer Jackie Cruz, 29, experienced a life-altering moment during one of the darkest times in her life.

The Queens native who was raised in Santiago, Dominican Republic and later Hollywood, was involved in a horrific car accident at the age of 17.

It left her temporarily paralyzed.

"No hair, cross-eyed, crooked face,” Cruz described herself during FOX 5 NY morning program, 'Good Day New York.'

The physical damage nearly destroyed her emotionally.

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"It was very hard. I went to the rehabilitation center where I was crying every night," said Cruz.

One day, she asked a quadriplegic patient what had caused her severe injuries. The child's answer changed her life forever.

"She told me I was pretty. I had no hair, scabs everywhere and she thought I was pretty. After that she made me change my mind and way of thinking. It was never what was on the outside that counted, it was always on the inside. She saw something in me and I never gave up after that," said Cruz.

The star is now a series regular on the Netflix mega-hit, 'Orange Is the New Black.'

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