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America Ferrera

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America Ferrera
AmericaFerreraDIFFApr10.jpg
Ferrera at the Dallas International Film Festival in April 2010
Born America Georgine Ferrera
(1984-04-18) April 18, 1984 (age 31)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Georgine Ferrera[1]
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Actress
Years active 2002–present
Spouse(s) Ryan Piers Williams (m. 2011)

America Georgine Ferrera[1] (born April 18, 1984) is an American actress. She is known for her leading role as Betty Suarez on the American Broadcasting Company's comedy-drama television series Ugly Betty (2006–10). Her acting garnered critical acclaim, and she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

She has featured in a number of films, including Real Women Have Curves (2002), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) and its sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008), The Dry Land (2010), Our Family Wedding (2010), and End of Watch (2012). She also had a small role in the skateboard biopic Lords of Dogtown (2005). In addition, Ferrera provides the voice of Astrid the Viking in the DreamWorks animated picture How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Cartoon Network's television series based on the film Dragons: Riders of Berk, Dragons: Defenders of Berk and the sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014). In 2015, Ferrera marked her return to television as a regular and co-producer on the NBC situation comedy Superstore.

Early life[edit]

Ferrera, the youngest of six children, was born in Los Angeles, California.[2] Her parents, América Griselda Ayes and Carlos Gregorio Ferrera, were originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s.[3] Her mother worked as the director of the housekeeping staff for one of the Hilton Hotels,[4] and stressed the importance of higher education.[5] When she was 7, her parents divorced and her father returned to Honduras.[6] Ferrera's father died in 2010.[7]

Ferrera was raised in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles, where she attended Calabash Street Elementary School, George Ellery Hale Middle School and El Camino Real High School.[8] From the time she was seven years old, when she landed a small role in a school production of Hamlet and then at age 10, the role as the Artful Dodger in Oliver!, Ferrera knew that she wanted to be a performer. Her first play was Romeo and Juliet, and although only in the third grade, she went to the junior high school and auditioned and got the role of the Apothecary.[9] She acted in school plays and community theatre in Los Angeles throughout her youth, though with little help from her mother, who insisted that she pursue other interests because she was concerned her daughter would not be treated fairly.[5] Ferrera disliked her first name as a child and went by her middle name, "Georgine", until she began acting professionally.[10]

While at El Camino High School, she took acting lessons at the age of 15 and was able to pay for them by waiting tables and babysitting. She entered the University of Southern California (USC) on a presidential scholarship, double majoring in theatre and international relations.

Career[edit]

Ferrera in 2006

In July 2002, Ferrera appeared in her first television movie, Gotta Kick It Up! for The Disney Channel. While at a theatre program at Northwestern University that same year,[11] she made her feature movie debut in Real Women Have Curves. Ferrera followed this with roles in television (Touched by an Angel).[12] She also appeared in the movie Plainsong, based on the novel by Kent Haruf, which also featured Aidan Quinn and Rachel Griffiths. Ferrera played a pregnant teenager, Victoria Roubideaux, who has been kicked out of her mother's house and she is taken in by two kindly brothers who live alone on a farm.[13] In the 2005 film How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, she starred as Bianca, a 17-year-old third-generation Mexican-American who is disgusted with the boys in her neighborhood but finds romance with a boy from a neighboring town. In 2006, she appeared in the short film 3:52, which won the Audience Award at the San Diego Women Film Festival. Later that year, she featured in the movie Steel City, which received nominations at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Sundance Film Festival.[14]

In December 2005, she appeared in the Off-Broadway play Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, directed by Trip Cullman. She won the lead role of Betty in Ugly Betty in 2006. Ugly Betty is an adaptation of the successful Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, in which Ferrera portrays a girl whom her peers find extremely unattractive, thus the series title. As Betty Suarez, Ferrera wears braces, has bushy eyebrows and a disheveled wig, and cosmetics and clothing intended to downplay her own looks, in contrast to most of the "glammed up" characters; Ferrera herself invented the term “Bettification” to describe the process of creating her onscreen persona.[15] For her role in Ugly Betty, Ferrera won the 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. As a result of the award, she was congratulated by the U.S. House of Representatives as being a role model for young Hispanics.[16] On January 28, 2007, Ferrera won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.[17]

Ferrera in June 2010

In 2007, TIME chose Ferrera as one of the top artists and entertainers in their "Time 100: The Most Influential People In The World" issue.[18] In July 2007, Ferrera won Imagen Foundation's Creative Achievement Award.[19] On September 16, 2007, Ferrera won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series[20] for her Ugly Betty role, the first Latina to win in that category.[citation needed] During the summer of 2007, she completed filming on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the sequel to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, as Carmen. Among other film work, she supplied the voice of Astrid in the hit animated film How to Train Your Dragon (2010). She also appearred in The Dry Land which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival[21] and ran at the Dallas International Film Festival where it won the top prize in the Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature.[22]

Ferrera made her London stage debut on November 7, 2011, playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago in London's West End.[23] In 2012, Ferrera was featured in the four-hour documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which premiered on PBS October 1 and 2, 2012.[24] The series introduces women and girls living in very difficult circumstances and struggling to challenge them. The Half the Sky PBS TV series is produced by Show of Force along with Fugitive Films. Ferrera starred alongside David Cross and Julia Stiles in the dark comedy It's a Disaster, which premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival and had a limited commercial release on April 12, 2013.[25]

On May 17, 2013, ABC announced that Ferrera would return to TV in a limited-run telenovela titled Pedro & Maria, a modern-day take on Romeo and Juliet set in Washington, D.C. The series had been in development at MTV since 2010 with Ferrera serving as director on the project, which would have interactive participation online content from viewers.[26] The series, had it been accepted by ABC, would have been broadcast during the 2013–14 television season, but was not accepted. On March 16, 2015, Ferrera was added to the cast of the upcoming NBC sitcom Superstore, portraying Amy, a 10-year veteran floor supervisor at a superstore named Cloud 9. In addition to her main role, Ferrera has co-production duties as well. This brought the actress back to television five years after Ugly Betty ended its run in 2010.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Ferrera and her husband Ryan Piers Williams in October 2010

Ferrera first met actor, director, and writer Ryan Piers Williams when he cast her in a student film at USC.[28] The couple became engaged in June 2010,[28] and married on June 27, 2011.[29]

In May 2013, Ferrera graduated from USC, earning a bachelor's degree in International relations, which took her ten years to complete.[30]

Ferrera has also been politically active. She was seen attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina,[31] pledging her support for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.[32] Ferrera is also active in getting Latinos in the United States to vote through her involvement with the organization Voto Latino by appearing on various news programs.[33]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Real Women Have Curves Ana Garcia
2004 Darkness Minus Twelve Luiza Short film
2005 How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer Blanca
2005 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Carmen Lowell
2005 Lords of Dogtown Thunder Monkey
2005 3:52 Kate
2006 Steel City Amy Barnes
2007 Muertas Rebecca Short film; also executive producer
2007 Towards Darkness (Hacia la oscuridad) Luiza Also executive producer
2007 Under the Same Moon Martha
2008 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 Carmen Lowell
2008 Tinker Bell Fawn Direct-to-video; voice
2010 The Dry Land Sarah Also executive producer
2010 Our Family Wedding Lucia Ramirez
2010 How to Train Your Dragon Astrid Hofferson Voice
2012 It's a Disaster Hedy Galili
2012 End of Watch Officer Orozco
2012 Half the Sky Herself Documentary
2014 César Chávez Helen Chavez
2014 X/Y Sylvia Also producer
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Astrid Hofferson Voice
2016 Special Correspondents Brigida In post-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2002–08, 2010–11 Independent Lens Herself / Host Seasons 5–9, 12–13; 112 episodes
2002 Touched by an Angel Charlee Episode: "The Word"
2002 Gotta Kick It Up! Yolanda "Yoli" Vargas Disney Channel Original Movie
2004 Plainsong Victoria Roubideaux Hallmark Hall of Fame movie
2004 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation April Perez Episode: "Harvest"
2006–10 Ugly Betty Betty Suarez Main cast; 85 episodes
2011–13 The Good Wife Natalie Flores 4 episodes
2011 Handy Manny Graciela Morales Episode: "Snow Problem"; voice
2012–present DreamWorks Dragons Astrid Hofferson Main cast; voice
2014 Years of Living Dangerously Herself Episode: "Winds of Change"
2015–present Superstore Amy Main cast; also co-producer
Web
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Christine Christine Main cast; 12 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2002 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize: Dramatic Real Women Have Curves Won
2003 Independent Spirit Award Best Debut Performance Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Nominated
2005 Satellite Award Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Breakout Performance – Female Nominated
Choice Movie Hissy Fit Nominated
2006 ALMA Award Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actress Won
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Ugly Betty Nominated
2007 ALMA Award Outstanding Actress – Television Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actress – Television Won
Creative Achievement Award N/A Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Ugly Betty Won
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Won
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (shared with cast) Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV: Breakout Won
Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated
TCA Award Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2008 Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Won
Imagen Award Best Actress – Television Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (shared with cast) Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated
2009 ALMA Award Actress in Television – Comedy Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actress – Television Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Nominated
New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award N/A Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Ugly Betty Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated
2010 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actress – Television Won
Best Actress – Film The Dry Land Nominated
Our Family Wedding Nominated
2011 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Actress-Animated Female Film How to Train Your Dragon Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "America Georgine Ferrera, Born 04/18/1984 in California". CaliforniaBirthIndex.org. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "America Ferrera Biography". A+E Networks. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "América Ferrera cambia de patito feo a diva" (in Spanish). Elheraldo.hn. August 25, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ Comita, Jenny (May 2007). "America Ferrera, Hot Betty". W. Retrieved February 1, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "America Ferrera's family background". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ Biography Today, p. 78
  7. ^ "America Ferrera's Father Passes Away". Latina. August 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Movies: Biography for America Ferrera". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Biography Today, p. 79
  10. ^ Davis, Peter (August 2009). "Miss America". Gotham. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009. Named after her mother, Ferrera says she detested the name America as a child. ... 'So I used my middle name, Georgine.' ... When she started acting professionally, she decided to go with her real first name again. [dead link]
  11. ^ Biography Today, p. 80
  12. ^ "America Ferrera Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Biography Today, pp. 82–83
  14. ^ Biography Today, p. 87
  15. ^ "It's a 'Bettification' project". USA Today. October 4, 2006. 
  16. ^ "'Ugly Betty' Star Saluted in Congress". IMDB Press Release. January 19, 2007. 
  17. ^ "The 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild. 
  18. ^ White, Kate (May 3, 2007). "The Time 100: America Ferrera". Time. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007. 
  19. ^ "America Ferrera wins an Imagen". Poponthepop.com. July 30, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ "America Ferrera Emmy Award Winner". Emmys.com. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ "2010 Sundance Film Festival : The Dry Land". Sundance.bside.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. 
  22. ^ O'Connell, Sean (April 17, 2010). "America Ferrera The Dry Land Dallas Film Festival Pete Docter". HollywoodNews.com. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  23. ^ Bosanquet, Theo (October 10, 2011). ""Ugly Betty's America Ferrera Leads Chicago at Garrick"". WhatsOnStage. 
  24. ^ "Independent Lens: Half the Sky". PBS.org. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  25. ^ "It's a Disaster – weekly box office results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  26. ^ Hibberd, James (May 17, 2013). "America Ferrera eyes ABC return in 'Romeo and Juliet'-inspired series – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  27. ^ "America Ferrera to Star in NBC Comedy 'Superstore'". The Hollywood Reporter. March 16, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b "America Ferrera Is Engaged!". People. June 17, 2010. 
  29. ^ "America Ferrera Is Married!". People. June 28, 2011. 
  30. ^ Finn, Natalie (May 14, 2013). "America Ferrera Graduating From College After 10 Years". E! Online. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Celebrities Attend The Democratic National Convention". The Hollywood Reporter. September 6, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Obama Campaign Looking For Assists From Jay-Z, Fergie?". MTV. January 17, 2012. 
  33. ^ "America Ferrera Visits POLITICO to Voice her Opinions on Immigration Reform". Latino Post. December 21, 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • "America Ferrera 1984–". Biography Today (Omnigraphics, Inc.) 16 (3): 78. 2007. ISSN 1058-2347. 

External links[edit]