Actress America Ferrera (TV’s Superstore) posted a sweet and heartfelt message to herself as a teenager when she made her on-screen debut on the Disney Channel movie Gotta Kick It Up!, which was directed by Ramón Menéndez (Stand and Deliver).
On her Instagram late last week, Ferrera shared a photo of herself and a co-star from the movie about a high school dance team who learns how to dance to Latin music for an upcoming competition. It was the first time she had been paid as an actress.
“My mind was blown that my dream was becoming a reality,” Ferrera wrote. “I couldn’t believe I was rehearsing with real dancers and choreographers, that all the snacks were free and that my wardrobe fitting was on the famous Warner Brothers lot.”
Ferrera was also excited when she saw George Clooney playing basketball and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston hanging out in the door of Clooney’s trailer.
“I soaked up every moment of being on that set…because the truth was I had no idea if I’d ever get the chance to do it again,” Ferrera wrote. “I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be.”
Since her first paid acting gig on Gotta Kick It Up!, Ferrera has gone on to do some incredible things in the film and TV industry. Her breakout role was that same year in the indie dramedy Real Women Have Curves. She’s also starred in movies like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Under the Same Moon, End of Watch, and on TV series like Ugly Betty, which landed her a Golden Globe win in 2007.
Ferrera has also stepped behind the camera to direct and produce episodes of TV’s Superstore and Gentefied and has used her fame to advocate for more Latinos to work in the industry.
“We did it baby girl,” Ferrera wrote. “I’m proud of us.”