For Latinas in the film industry, any testimony of success is one more reason to keep fighting for their dreams. In America Ferrera’s case, it’s 20 years of a career without a ceiling, but not without obstacles.
In an Instagram post, Ferrera reflected on her Hollywood journey in tribute to her 20 years in the industry.
“20 years ago, today was my first day as a working actress. My mind was blown that my dream was becoming a reality,” she wrote. “I was being PAID to act, and dance in a Disney Channel Movie called Gotta Kick It Up!”
Born in Los Angeles to Honduran parents, Ferrera made her film debut in 2002 with the comedy-drama “Real Women Have Curves” and the Disney original. Three years later, the drama “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” earned her an Imagen Award for Best Actress and her first ALMA Award nomination.
“I couldn’t believe I was rehearsing with real dancers and choreographers, that all the snacks were free, and that my wardrobe fitting was on the famous Warner Brothers lot where I spotted George Clooney playing basketball and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston hanging out in the door of his trailer!!!” she remembered about her first paid gig.
Ferrera acknowledged having taken advantage of every second of that experience “because the truth was I had no idea if I’d ever get the chance to do it again.”
Finally, the actress wrote that she wished she could turn back the clock and tell “Little baby America” that “the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be.”
“We did it, baby girl. I’m proud of us. #AF20 #gottakickitup #20years,” she concluded.
And boy, did they do it!
Following the success of ABC’s dramatic sitcom, “Ugly Betty” (2006-2010), America Ferrera was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2007, and took home the award for Best Actress at several awards ceremonies that year, including the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Primetime Emmy Award, the first for a Latina in this category.
Ferrera’s other notable film roles include the drama The Dry Land (2010), the romantic comedy Our Family Wedding (2010), and the crime drama End of Watch (2012). She provided the voice of Astrid Hofferson in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, including the three films and the television series Dreamworks Dragons. She recently co-produced and starred as Amy Sosa in the NBC comedy series Superstore (2015-2021).