America Ferrera won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role as Ugly Betty, which is currently shooting its final season.
Moving onto the big screen she is starring in the comedy Our Family Wedding, where she plays Lucia Ramirez, a Hispanic girl who is about to marry her boyfriend, Marcus, who is African American. Everything is fine, until they approach their families, who insist on planning their wedding – leaving the couple to lament, ‘Our marriage, their wedding.’
America spoke with me about the new movie, and the end of her popular series, Ugly Betty.
What attracted you to this project?
I was really attracted to this character and the conversations that I had with Rick (Famuyiwa), our director about making her a woman of her generation. I feel like we see wedding movies all the time and often the women are obsessed with this one day that means everything to them. For me, that’s never been the case. I’ve just never been the type of person who sits there and wonders what my dress is going to be like, and I have tons of friends that that isn’t the most important thing to them either.
I think women are a lot more complicated than obsessing over one day in their lives. So, it was more about, ‘I’m fine with just getting married at City Hall with my family and then getting on with my life.’ And yet with that confidence and strength and knowing what she wants; that sort of universal thing about you can be grown up and a woman and this sexual, smart, successful being and then when you get around family, you revert to being 15-years-old again.
Family structures are such strong things and it’s so hard to re-define yourself within your family and say, ‘I’m a woman now. I’m an autonomous creature. I’m starting a life with someone you may not love or accept.’ So, I was really interested in her journey toward finding the courage to be that woman that she was becoming and be it in that family structure. It’s such a hard thing to do.
She doesn’t tell her family that she’s left law school Can you imagine yourself in a similar situation holding off telling your parents something crucial?
I personally was never very secretive about anything. I was always sort of wide open (she laughs).
That’s her weakness. I think that’s the conflict that comes between her and Marcus. Like, ‘Where is that woman that I know? That I’m in love with, that is strong and confident and knows what she wants?’ All of a sudden nothing is more important than pleasing dad and being daddy’s little girl, and that happens. Those relationships in your life where they rule over all and you just please that relationship and ignore everything else.
What is the most memorable wedding you’ve ever been to?
My friend got married in Puerto Rico. I like when friends decide to have destination weddings. I was in Santorini shooting The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2and my friend was getting married and I traveled for twenty-six hours to get to this wedding and I basically made it through the ceremony and the dinner and passed out for the whole party. But it was a good dinner and a good ceremony and it was a beautiful place to pass out.
How did this work into your schedule with Ugly Betty? It must have been grueling to do that and a movie. How did that work?
Yeah. Last summer I wrapped Ugly Betty at two in the morning. I was on a six A.M. flight to a wardrobe fitting for The Dry Land, which is a film I executive produced and starred in. I was on that film for four weeks and then three days after I wrapped that, I was filming this movie. Then, as soon as I wrapped this, I was back for Ugly Betty season four.
How do you feel now that the series is ending?
Right now I’m having trouble seeing my life past March 26th because this has been a part of my life for the duration of my adult life. I only know myself as an adult in this job and I’m so grateful and thankful for this opportunity. I love the show. I love the cast. I love my character and I’m just grateful that I’m going have a chance to see her through her journey, and that we can wrap it up in a way that is satisfying versus it being, ‘Oh well, that was your last episode and you don’t get to finish this up’.
So I’m grateful for that. It’s bittersweet. It was amazing. I’m so grateful it was in my life and there is, hopefully, so much more to be done and it will always be just amazing memories for me. It’s sad.
You can’t tell us anything about the final episode?
No. Of course I can’t tell you that.
But you think she’s going to make a good exit?
I’m very happy with what we’re going be doing for her.