America Ferrera’s Best Roles, from ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ to ‘Ugly Betty’ to ‘Barbie’

America Ferrera has made a career of playing real women, ranging from portraits of historical figures (such as political activist Helen Chávez in “Cesar Chavez”) to portrayals of the relatable plights faced by everyday girls everywhere (as embodied by the actress’ viral speech in “Barbie.”)

Ferrera’s selection of roles have seeming all lead to her turn in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” which landed Ferrera a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 2024 Oscars. But the former teen star was already an icon to fans of the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” franchise, “Ugly Betty,” and “Superstore.” “Barbie” was just a nice reminder that maybe we’ve all been taking Ferrera’s talents for granted too long.

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Let’s not forget that Ferrera made history by winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for “Ugly Betty,” becoming the first Latina woman to take home the prize in the category. She also went on to win a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her turn in the beloved series.

Next, Ferrera went on to expand her TV empire with NBC workplace comedy “Superstore,” which she starred in and co-produced. Ferrera has no trouble carving out unique roles that bring authenticity and genuine warmth to screens big and small. The actress is set to make her directorial debut with the adaptation of novel “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” for Amazon and MGM, as Deadline announced. The film reunites Ferrera with her “Gentefied” executive producing partner Linda Yvette Chávez who is writing the script.

Academy Award nominee Ferrera told IndieWire that as a Honduran-American actress, “We’re usually invited in to put our despair and our trauma on a story, not to get to be the heroes of the story. Not to get to be a part of the fun.”

She said of “Barbie,” “It filled my soul to get to be invited to the [‘Barbie’] party, and to get to have fun. It’s healing for us to see ourselves in those roles. That we aren’t just our pain. We aren’t just our oppression and the fight. We also get to show up in our joy.”

In honor of the 2024 Best Supporting Actress Oscars race, IndieWire revisited ten of Ferrera’s best film and TV roles from throughout her career.

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