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America  Ferrera

America Ferrera

Emmy Award-Winning Actress & Activist

America Ferrera

Emmy Award-Winning Actress & Activist


America Ferrera is an award-winning actress and producer who is perhaps best known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty. For her outstanding performance on the show, Ferrera was recognized with a Golden Globe®, Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Award®, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards.

Ferrera currently produces and stars in the second season of the NBC workplace comedy, Superstore. Starring as “Amy,” who has worked for the store for 10 years as a floor supervisor, Ferrera’s character experiences drastic changes in her daily life when a new hire comes aboard. Additionally, she can currently be seen in the EPIX TV mini-series, America Divided, starring alongside Peter Sarsgaard, Amy Poehler and Zach Galifianakis. The eight-story, five-part documentary presents interwoven narratives about inequality in education, housing, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system.

Upcoming, she will Executive Produce Refinery 29’s Behind the Headlines, a multimedia experience comprising video, text and images dedicated to humanizing the conversations around the issues that matter to women and Only Girl, which is a docu-series investigating what it means to be a female in a male-dominated field, ranging from baseball players to airplane pilots.

Ferrera was most recently seen in Showtime’s second season of the groundbreaking documentary, The Years of Living Dangerously. America was also seen in Ricky Gervais’ satirical film, Special Correspondents, on Netflix, opposite Ricky Gervais, Vera Farmiga, and Eric Bana. Her recent film credits also include Ryan Piers Williams’ drama X/Y, which she produced and starred in opposite Amber Tamblyn. The film premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Ferrera starred in Diego Luna’s biopic, Cesar Chavez, opposite Michael Peña and alongside an impressive cast including, John Malkovich and Rosario Dawson. Ferrera received an ALMA Award for her portrayal of Cesar Chavez’s wife, “Helen Chavez.” The film premiered at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival.

Ferrera continues to lend her vocal talents to the DreamWorks’ Oscar® nominated franchise films How to Train Your Dragon.

Prior to this, Ferrera was seen in Ryan Piers Williams' feature The Dry Land opposite Melissa Leo and Jason Ritter. Released by Maya Entertainment, the film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won Best International Film at the 2010 Edinburgh Film Festival. Other film credits include End of Watch, the crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, and Michael Peña; the drama-comedy It’s a Disaster alongside Julia Stiles and David Cross; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (parts 1 and 2); the critically acclaimed biographical drama film Lords of Dogtown directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival entry How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, among many others.

On stage, the actress starred in Terrence McNally’s off-Broadway production, Lips Together, Teeth Apart in the fall of 2014. In 2013, she appeared as “Crystal” in Laura Marks’ off-Broadway play Bethany. In November 2011, Ferrera starred as “Roxie Hart” in the West End production of the hit musical, Chicago, for an eight week run. She also appeared off-Broadway in Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, directed by Trip Cullman.

In October 2012, Ferrera appeared as an activist and correspondent in Showtime’s Emmy® Award-winning Years of Living Dangerously, which explores the acts, science, and human cost of climate change. In the same year, Ferrera joined reporter Nicholas Kristof and actresses Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde in the four-hour, internationally broadcasted television series for PBS Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The social documentary series, an inspiring program that captivates the struggling and empowering stories of females fighting for change, was shot in ten underprivileged countries.

In tandem with her work on the Half the Sky series, Ferrera served as ambassador on the campaign, “America4America” joining Voto Latino, the leading non-partisan national youth empowerment organization. The campaign, which engaged people across the country in online conversations, featured Ferrera discussing issues related to voter ID laws, education, and immigration. Ferrera was the face of the initiative for the 2012 election. In July 2016, America spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on behalf of women’s rights and immigration in support of Hillary Clinton.

Ferrera also served as an artist ambassador for Save the Children and traveled to West Africa where she raised funds to build a school in southern Mali. She has dedicated her time to the organization, ONE, in support of women facing the challenges of extreme poverty.

Behind the scenes, America has started her own television and film production company, Take Fountain.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ferrera is the youngest of six children. As a graduate of the  University of Southern California, the actress studied International Relations while pursuing her career in film and television.

Speaker Videos

Fostering Education in Mali

Speech Topics

An Evening with America Ferrera