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America Ferrera

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Best known as the young star of the ABC mega-hit comedy soap “Ugly Betty,” America Ferrera has made a career out of redefining beauty (aka “hotness”), while wowing critics and winning scads of acting awards. Born in 1984, the 5'1" America grew up as the youngest of six, a rare Latina in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. Growing up in this matzo-flavored corner of the Los Angeles melting pot, she admits to attending scores of bar mitzvahs, but not a single quinceañera.

America’s early interest in acting eventually lead to a role as a zaftig youngster dealing with life’s weighty issues in the Latino-themed indie comedy-drama, "Real Women Have Curves." The film hit it big at Sundance and its young star was very much the center of attention. In no time, the 18-year-old was collecting awards and job offers. Parts in films like tween-girl fave "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Lords of Dogtown" followed. However, it was landing the title role in "Ugly Betty" that nailed stardom for the busy and critically lauded young actress, who has received her very own Golden Globe long before the USC student has been able to collect her college degree.

Still a few pounds overweight by ultra-lean Hollywood standards, the adorable Ms. Ferrera is something of a throwback to the more voluptuous beauties of show biz past, and her "Bettification" process is said to involve significant hair and make-up work to turn the gorgeous America into the braces-besmirched (but still oddly cute) Betty. Of course, a hit television show doesn’t leave that much time for a personal life, so it makes sense that America met her current boyfriend, young filmmaker Ryan Williams, pre-fame while appearing in his student short.  However, she's been flatly denying media reports that her and Williams are engaged, so there's still hope for the rest of us.

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America Ferrera on the Web

A database listing of America's film and Television work.

America Ferrara – Wikipedia
As for the photo of America in her glam award-night attire -- keep the jokes about "Golden Globes" to yourselves, please. We’ve already thought of them.

America Ferrera on the Screen

Even with the success of “Real Women Have Curves,” America has paid her share of pre-"Betty," small screen dues, including episodes of “Touched by an Angel” and “CSI,” as well as “$5.15 an Hour,” an 2004 unsold pilot written and directed by filmmaker Richard Linklater (“Dazed and  Confused,” “A Scanner Darkly”). As for the big screen, it looks like there are more dues to be paid, including her upcoming appearance in the “Traveling Pants” sequel. For now, America’s best shot at getting some real cinematic respect is “Towards Darkness,” a Spanish-language kidnapping thriller set in Bogotá that America executive produced and which played the Tribeca film festival. Interestingly, her “Ugly Betty” dad, veteran actor Tony Plana, also plays her onscreen pop here.

America Says

On freedom:
"I guess I'm a free-spirited person and America's supposedly the 'land of the free,' right?...Or at least we will be in 2008."

On ethnicity and weight:
"I think Hispanic women are beautiful with their curves. I'm not sure who feels that way in Hollywood."

On slight competition:
"I think it's hilarious when people call Jessica Alba or Eva Longoria curvy. Come on. They're not curvy. They're small. I'm curvy."