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America Ferrera became a first-time mom last year, after giving birth to her son, Sebastian, in May. On the career front, she hasn’t missed a beat. The California-born actress has starred in more than 19 movies, including the film franchise How to Train Your Dragon. In the third and final installment, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Ferrera bids farewell to her animated character, Astrid the Viking, and reveals the importance of the character. “I don’t really think about what Astrid looks like when I’m voicing her, she told Parade. “I think it’s always been about her spirit. I feel like so many young girls see themselves in Astrid.”
Ferrera, who is of Honduran descent, was just 17 when she hit the big screen in 2002’s Real Women Have Curves, The role not only elevated her career, but also put a spotlight on Latino culture and its generations of strong women. “I was excited that there was a Latin American girl in the lead, one who came from a background that felt similar to mine,” Ferrera told Entertainment Weekly.
Her most memorable role, though, may be as TV’s Ugly Betty. In 2006, Ferrera teamed up with Salma Hayek to bring the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea to an English-speaking market in the United States. The story of a woman who is held back professionally because of her looks is so popular, it’s being told again as a telenovela on Telemundo, titled Betty en NY.
Ferrera’s Ugly Betty was on for four seasons and scored her multiple awards. She won a Best Actress Golden Globe along with Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Teen Choice awards. The actress even made history as the first Latina to win an Emmy in the Lead Actress category!
Now Ferrera has another successful TV show to her credit: Superstore (returning to NBC on March 7.) Ferrera said she was drawn to the role because the stories are about working-class people with real-life issues. “I think that it’s incredibly important, especially in this day and age, that the stories we tell and that the larger cultural narrative include more and more people’s voices and experiences, so that we can better understand each other and become more familiar with each other’s lives, experiences and struggles, so that we can build understanding and compassion.”
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