Why America Ferrera’s Family Was Initially Unsupportive of Her Acting Career

With the success of projects like Ugly Betty and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, America Ferrera has certainly become a household name. But when she was first beginning her career, her family wasn’t convinced things would work out.

In her cover interview for Nexus magazine, America recalled when she first started out and lacked the support of family and friends.

“I was met with discouragement and skepticism from family and friends. A lot of people said I better have a back-up plan.”

But despite wanting to please her family, and her mother in particular, America pursued her plan and started going out for roles as a teen,

“I was young, naïve and delusional enough to ignore all of it. I just sort of committed myself to believing that this was going to be my life.”

When she was 18, she landed her first gig in Disney Channel Original Movie Gotta Kick It Up as well as a starring role in Sundance-favorite Real Women Have Curves. The film told the story of a chubby young Latina girl who defies her family and falls in love with an American boy.

“It was also a representation of something that I had never seen before. The response we got at festivals such as Sundance showed me the power of storytelling and how it can represent an experience that goes largely unseen. It created a shared experience with people from all walks of life,” she recalled.

Curves led to America’s breakout role in Ugly Betty and the rest was history.

“With Ugly Betty I felt like I had won the lotto again. I feel that way about many roles.”

Now, the actress stars in NBC’s show Superstore, which focuses on a Walmart-like store Cloud9 and the employees who work there.

Superstore airs Thursdays at 8 PM.

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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.