Last week, America Ferrera received her first-ever Academy Award nomination for Barbie. It was a heartfelt performance that was anchored by a powerful monologue that Ferrera later described as a “pivotal moment” in the narrative.
If you’ve followed Ferrera’s 22-year career in Hollywood, however, you’ll know that her Barbie monologue isn’t the first time her words have held so much power. Here are five other scenes in Ferrera’s filmography that prove she was always preparing for that monumental Barbie role.
Real Women Have Curves
Ferrera made her feature film debut in the 2002 comedy-drama, which co-starred the late Lupe Ontiveros (Selena) as Ferrera’s overbearing mother. In one scene, Ferrera’s character, Ana Garcia, is so hot in the sweatshop where she works with her mom and sister, she decides to take off her shirt. Her mother then criticizes her body. Ana responds: “How dare anybody try to tell me what I should look like or what I should be when there’s so much more to me than just my weight!”
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
In one scene of the 2005 comedy-drama, Ferrera’s character, Carmen Lowell, is trying on a dress for the wedding of her biological father, who has been absent most of her life. When she feels disrespected by her future stepmother when the dress doesn’t fit, she defends herself. “Just forget about the dress,” Carmen says. “We can just tell everybody that Carmen’s Puerto Rican, and it never occurred to you that she might be built differently. Or that unlike you and your daughter, she has an ass!”
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (again)
In a subsequent scene, Carmen speaks to her father (Bradley Whitford) over the phone and tells him how neglected she feels. He has started a new family, and it seems like he has moved on from his old life. “I’m angry with you dad,” Carmen says. “I feel like some outsider who doesn’t even belong to you anymore. It’s like you traded me and mom in for something that you thought was better, and I want to know why. Are you ashamed of me?”
In the NBC sitcom, Ferrera’s character, Amy Sosa, finds out after giving birth that she doesn’t qualify for maternity leave. Worried about losing her job, she goes into work but it doesn’t go very well. “I have slept 90 minutes in three days,” Amy yells. “The lining of my uterus is coming out in clumps. I have hemorrhoids so big that my doctor looked at my a—— and said ‘Whoa!’ I am wearing frozen diapers, so that my p—- doesn’t fall out!”
It’s a Disaster
In the 2012 dark comedy, Ferrera plays Hedy Galili, a chemistry teacher who, along with her fiancée and a group of friends, discover that a chemical weapon has been released in their city and that they will likely die. Her fiancée walks into the kitchen and questions why she’s whipping up a batch of “poor man’s ecstasy,” which then turns into a conversation about their wedding. “I love you…but the thought of planning a major event with you, that makes me want to claw my f—ing eyes out.”