America Ferrera Biography

Film Actor/Film Actress, Activist, Actress, Activist, Television Actress, Film Actress (1984–)
America Ferrera is an American actress of Honduran descent who is best known for playing the title role on the hit television series 'Ugly Betty.'

Who Is America Ferrera?

Actress America Ferrera was born on April 18, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. Ferrera received critical acclaim for her performance in Real Women Have Curves (2002) and gained more attention for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), a movie adaption of a hit teen novel. Ferrera became a star when she took on the title role in the television series Ugly Betty, which aired from 2006 to 2010.

Early Years

The youngest of six children, America Georgine Ferrera was born on April 18, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Carlos Gregorio Ferrera and América Griselda Ayes, had emigrated from Honduras in the 1970s. After her parents divorced, Ferrera was brought up by her single mother.

Performing in a production of Hamlet at school when she was 7 made Ferrera decide to pursue a career in acting. Growing up, she continued to appear in school plays, and also worked in community theater. While still in high school, Ferrera landed a part in the Disney Channel original movie Gotta Kick It Up! (2002).

The same year that her Disney Channel production aired, Ferrera appeared in the HBO film Real Women Have Curves. Her performance earned her numerous accolades, including the Jury Award for Best Actress at the Sundance Film Festival. On the heels of that success, Ferrera showed up in films such as Lords of Dogtown (2005) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005).

'Ugly Betty' and Beyond

In 2006, America Ferrera was cast in the lead role in a new television series called Ugly Betty. Based on the Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty, la Fea, and produced by Salma Hayek, Ugly Betty went on to make Ferrera a star. In 2007, she received a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy Award for her performance as Betty Suarez. Demonstrating that Ferrera was more than her Ugly Betty role, People magazine also named her to its 100 Most Beautiful People list.

Outside of the awards circuit, Ferrera was selected as one of Time magazine's most influential people and was honored by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis for providing a role model for young Latinas. While Ugly Betty was still on the air, Ferrera also continued to act in films, appearing in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) and doing voice work in the Hollywood hit How to Train Your Dragon (2010).

Ugly Betty finished its run in 2010, but Ferrera stayed busy. She was cast in a recurring role in the TV drama The Good Wife and appeared on London's West End as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. Ferrera also landed a role in the film Cesar Chavez (2014), playing the labor organizer's wife, Helen.

The actress returned to sitcom television with the debut of the dysfunctional workplace comedy Superstore in 2015. While not quite a hit at the level of Ugly Betty, Superstore earned improved ratings as it progressed and was renewed for multiple seasons.


Ferrera has used her celebrity status to speak up for causes she believes in, such as immigration reform. She has also served as an ambassador for Save the Children. For the 2012 PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Ferrera traveled to India to meet the children of prostitutes and bring attention to the devastation caused by sex trafficking.

Ferrera was among the prominent actresses behind the January 2018 launch of Times Up, an initiative designed to combat sexual harassment in Hollywood and create a legal defense fund to support victims across all industries.

Personal Life

Ferrera attended the University of Southern California, where she met Ryan Piers Williams in 2003. They got engaged in 2010 and married the next year.

The couple announced Ferrera's pregnancy via an Instagram post to kick off the new year in 2018, with the actress holding a onesie above the caption: "We’re welcoming one more face to kiss in 2018!" 

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