America Ferrera is an award-winning actor, director and producer known for her roles in “Superstore,” “Ugly Betty” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Washington Post reporter Arelis R. Hernández speaks with Ferrera about the new season of “Gentefied,” which she helped direct and produce, the representation of Latinos on screen and her long-time activism.

Highlights

“You would think ‘oh this film by a Latina writer, starring a Latina, directed by a Latina,’ the success of that both critically, financially would… you would think, spawn more opportunity… and it didn’t… The success of our stories are seen as an exception and not as proof that we can succeed in these spaces.” (Washington Post Live)
“I want that complexity for us. That’s what I want for us, not because it’s unique to us but because we so rarely get to see ourselves living in complexity.” (Washington Post Live)
“Probably by sheer count there are more Latinx faces on ‘television’… but there’s so much to consider in terms of ‘what are the versions of the stories being told about our community, who’s telling those stories… who is the process empowering?” “Twenty years ago, I did not have other Latinas in a room, I didn’t have relationships to other Latinas in the industry, I didn’t have Latina mentors, I didn’t have Latina friends, coworkers, co-conspirators, What’s happening and what I’ve seen shift in recent years in the industry is the Latinx creative community finding one another.” (Washington Post Live)

America Ferrera

Provided by representatives with America Ferrera.

America Ferrera is an award-winning actor, director and producer known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty. For her performance, Ferrera was awarded an Emmy®, a Screen Actors Guild Award®, and a Golden Globe®, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards.

Ferrera produced and directed three episodes this season and two episodes last season of NETFLIX’s hit Latinx Dramedy, Gentefied. Described as a badass Spanglish series about family, Gentefied follows three Mexican American cousins and their struggle to chase the American Dream. The show will make its’ Season 2 return on November 10th, 2021. In addition, Ferrera executive produced, directed episodes of, and starred in NBC’s beloved workplace comedy, Superstore, which ended its six-season run on March 25th, 2021.

Next year Ferrera will make her feature film directorial debut with I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Author Erika Sánchez will serve as a co-producer with the script being written by Linda Yvette Chávez. The film will be produced by Anonymous Content and MACRO and will be released on Netflix in 2022.

This summer it was announced that America will star in AppleTV+’s We Crashed. The show tells the story of the rise and fall of WeWork, one of the world’s most valuable startups, and the narcissists whose love made it all possible. Ferrera’s character is an entrepreneur who is persuaded to join the ranks at WeWork and, as a result, has their life turned upside down. She stars alongside Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway. The show is slated for release next year.

A longtime activist, Ferrera last year launched Poderistas alongside Eva Longoria Bastón and other Latina Leaders. Poderistas, formerly known as She Se Puede, is a digital lifestyle community and non-profit built to inspire, affirm, and inform Latinas so they can leverage their power to transform their lives, their families, their community and their nation. As part of this organization Ferrera was integral in the Biden Campaign’s Latino Vote push in Florida and campaigned heavily in Georgia on behalf of the Senate Runoff. Ferrera is also a prolific speaker having spoken at major events such as Women’s March, the DNC, March for Our Lives, etc. She was also a chair for the Artists’ Committee for the Women’s March on Washington. Her activism has even extended on screen in several television documentaries including Not Done: Women Remaking America for PBS, the EPIX TV mini-series, America Divided, Showtime’s groundbreaking documentary, The Years of Living Dangerously, and Nicholas Kristof’s series for PBS Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

In 2020, America created a short-form social media show, ‘America…AF.’ The Instagram series, in which she launched in the lead-up to the 2020 election, sees Ferrera breaking down and demystifying the American voting process — as well as taking on topics like voter suppression, etc. She has released 5 episodes in the series and is currently working on more.

In 2018, Ferrera released her first book landing on the New York Times best-seller list. American Like Me is a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures in America. Curated and edited by Ferrera, the anthology includes essays that share her own perspective of growing up as the daughter of Honduran immigrants in Los Angeles. Contributors to the book include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Kal Penn, Uzo Aduba, Jenny Zhang, Michelle Kwan, Padma Lakshmi and many others.

In 2017, she worked as one of the driving forces alongside other powerful women in Hollywood to establish the TIME’S UP movement. Ferrera also co-founded HARNESS, with her husband Ryan Piers Williams and Wilmer Valderrama, in 2016. HARNESS is a community of artists, influencers and grassroots leaders that provides education and engagement opportunities to amplify the organizations and individuals working on behalf of social justice.

Some of Ferrera’s television and film credits include a memorable arc on the CBS hit The Good Wife; Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents; Ryan Piers Williams’ drama X/Y, which she co-produced and starred in; Diego Luna’s biopic, Cesar Chavez, (ALMA Award Special achievement in Film); David Ayer’s crime thriller End of Watch; Ryan Piers Williams' The Dry Land, (Best International Film Edinburgh Film Festival); It’s a Disaster; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (parts 1 and 2); Real Women Have Curves; Lords of Dogtown; How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, among many others. She lends her vocal talents to the Oscar® nominated franchise films How to Train Your Dragon as Astrid.

On stage, she has appeared off-Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Laura Marks’ Bethany; and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, directed by Trip Cullman. She graced the stage as Roxie Hart in the West End production of the hit musical, Chicago.

In 2006, Ferrera founded her own television and film production company, Take Fountain.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ferrera is the youngest of six children. As a graduate of the University of Southern California, Ferrera studied International Relations while pursuing her film and television career. She currently resides in New York City.