The road to becoming one of America’s most famous Americas wasn’t always easy. As she recounts in a short Refinery29 video about her life, actress America Ferrera had to fight not only her own insecurities, but also the many struggles that are commonplace for Latinas her age. While she always felt wholly American at heart, she soon learned that others didn’t see her that way. Schoolmates on the one hand made fun of her for not speaking Spanish all too well while casting directors in Hollywood didn’t think twice about asking her to try reading lines again: “Make it sound more Latina this time.” It slowly dawned on her that she was being asked to speak in broken English, and thus perpetuate stereotypes about Latinos she herself dispelled with her unaccented English.
That was one of the many moments in her life that convinced her that not only would she pursue her dream of becoming an actress but that she would need to work hard to change the industry she so wanted to be a part of it. And, as we all know, her eventual breakthrough (Real Women Have Curves) would go on to cement her place as a performer fascinated with telling stories that had yet to be told. Check out the short doc below to hear more of what made America Ferrera the fearless, driven actress-activist she is today.