We sit down with Ugly Betty's America Ferrera for a quick chinwag
Time Out Bahrain staff
Filming has moved from LA to New York – how is that working out? For a show that’s supposed to be in New York, it’s very hard to capture the energy and the character that New York has when on screen. So I think that it’s made our show certainly more interesting to watch and beautiful to look at – you just can’t replicate that anywhere.
Your character is very much an outsider looking in. Did you relate that to your earlier experiences? I certainly have been in many situations where I felt like an outsider looking in. A big part of that had to do with not knowing who I was. Certainly, Betty’s situations are a little bit more extreme than my own, but Betty is starting out and it’s like when I was being introduced to this whole world of Hollywood.
On other Betty shows around the world, at some point, Betty has an image change. Do you think it’s coming soon? I know that in the Mexican version, Betty becomes beautiful and marries her boss. I don’t think that’s ever what they pictured when they thought of this version. I think that Betty’s sense of style, or lack of sense of style, is such a fun thing about her character. I don’t think that we ever want to lose that individual touch.
Does it ever feel strange to see yourself in the mirror as ‘ugly’ Betty? No, it’s been three years and I’ve spent more time as Betty than I have any other character. She feels very familiar to me.
The importance of family in Ugly Betty is always shown – how important are your family to you? I’m the youngest of six kids and we grew up very close. When you don’t grow up with things, the people in your life become your playmates, they become everything to you. After all these years playing Betty, do you feel a responsibility to people that don’t feel good in their own skin? And maybe by playing the character on the show, it helps them on a daily basis? Absolutely. I get letters and I get stopped in the street all the time. Betty is a beautiful character on the inside: she’s strong, successful, smart, loved and wanted. And she isn’t that image of perfect. I think that it’s nice for young women to have that.
So can you tell us a little bit about the evolution of your character? Well, we begin the season with a little bit of a blank slate – they became really focused on the thing that she wanted, which was her work. She wanted to move to the city and kind of grow up a little, and find a little independence from her family and not let her social life get in the way.
But this time around you meet a new guy. Does Betty fall in love with the new guy this time around? There’s a new guy on the show, his name is Matt, he’s very interesting and unique, and introduces Betty to a whole different world. Her past does haunt her a little bit. That first love of your life never goes away, it comes to haunt you at the most inconvenient time, as much as she tries to not let it get in her way, but it does.
Betty’s world continues to evolve in the third season: she grows up, settles in Manhattan and embraces her independence. But the past comes back when Betty’s ex-love Henry returns, setting the stage for a showdown with her current beau, Matt. What will Betty decide? Who, if anyone, will win her heart? Ugly Betty, season three, on Showseries, Mondays, 9pm, and Showsasha, Thursdays, 7pm.