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America Ferrera Talks Ugly Betty

Published August 28, 2006 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of ABC.
America Ferrera America Ferrera in Ugly Betty
Hey, America Ferrera isn’t ugly. We’ve seen Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Real Women Have Curves. For the American version of the Latin telenovela Ugly Betty, Ferrara dons braces, glasses and the frumpiest clothes that could possibly hide her adorable real looks, and she loves it.

America Ferrera On Being Ugly

“When I’m in character and I’m wearing Betty’s costume, I never feel more confident, more beautiful and more pretty on the inside,” said Ferrera. “I wish that one day as America I can feel the way that I feel when I’m Betty, because when I’m Betty, there’s a light that shines from the inside and it’s so wonderful to be here. And it’s fun as an actress to not have to worry about hair and makeup and do I look good in this. My sense of what looks good has totally changed.”

Betty gets a job working at the fashion magazine Mode, where she faces “beautiful” people every day, but carves a place for herself with efficiency and talent. “It’s exciting to watch her, she’s a very smart girl, to watch her learn how to interact with the people in this world and how to do it on her terms. I think that Betty is already in the episodes getting smarter and getting more knowledge on how to interact in this world, but I think that we need to protect what we love about her, which is the fact that she does it on her own terms, and above everything, she remembers to be a human.”

Winning the role of Betty was as much of a struggle, but producer Salma Hayek went to bat for Ferrera. “She did and she fought very, very hard for me and was my number one cheerleader. But I still had a lot to prove to the network and to the studio so I did have to read for it and I did have to go on. But her and Ben Silverman wanted me so they fought for me. But I still had to go in and prove myself for the role.”

Now that she will be Betty for a hopefully long run of the series, Ferrera is getting ready for fame. “I don’t necessarily care if anyone knows who I am. I fell in love with this character so early on and to me it’s so wonderful to see that people are falling in love with her. I’ve played roles that people feel very connected to so I know there’s a deeper connection to that. People feel like they do know you and they can come up to you and hug you and touch you because you were in their living room, you were on their TV. So I imagine that if the world falls in love with Betty the way I fell in love with Betty, it will probably be very hard for people to distinguish me from her.”

Ugly Betty begins September 28 on ABC.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of ABC.

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