By Stephanie Sampson
Women all over the world are advocating for equality in numerous ways. This week on our blog, we are celebrating International Women’s Day, and recognizing those significant women. One of the women that deserve to be recognized is America Ferrera. She is commonly known for her role in Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, Superstore, Our Family Wedding, as well as her strong role in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But many people don’t know that she has been actively raising the profile of Latinos in popular culture.
Women all over the country are proud that Ferrera is a positive strong influence working
to empower young women in the Hispanic community. Ferrera decided that she wanted to pursue an acting career at a young age. After her performance in her schools production of Hamlet at the age of 7, Ferrera discovered her true talent. She then continued to be involved in school productions as well as working in the local community theatre. One of the first films I remember her starring in was Disney channels Gotta Kick it Up back in 2002. She landed the role while she was still in high school. Her role was inspiring. She and her costars portray young Latina girls that overcome societal obstacles. With her fame, she has spoke out for what she believes in like immigration reform. For the PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Ferrera traveled to India to meet the children of prostitutes and bring attention to the devastation caused by sex trafficking. Ferrera has said she feels like her convictions and passions come from her very personal experience and the life that she has led.
“I feel the very naturally tendency to stand up for and use my voice for the things that I know about and the things that I feel passionate about,” Ferrera said.
Throughout history society has torn women apart instead of bringing them together. Instead of encouraging one another, women tend to become jealous about other women’s success. But Ferrera realizes the importance of women sticking together. In conversation with feminist icon Gloria Steinem at the MAKERS conference last month, Ferrera talks about the positive women she has been surrounded by all of her life. As the youngest of six, her mother primarily raised Ferrera after her parents divorced. She described her mother as an “incredible force of nature.” While talking with Steinem, she discussed how she has so many women in her life and how she had to stop competing.
“This is something that I had to unlearn in culture,” Ferrera said. “When I stopped thinking of other women as competition to me and started thinking about them as my partners in life, when that happened for me as a young woman, my whole experience of life changed.”
Take Fountain Productions, Ferrera’s production company with ABC studios, will be creating new content for cable and broadcast. Her new company has already sold its first two projects Plus One, a comedy, to ABC and Social Creatures, a drama, to ABC Family.
Since Ferrera has gained popularity she openly discusses her stance for equality and was even a judge on the competition to find The Next Female MacGyver, which is about finding the next great story about women. Discussing America Ferrera is a great way to wrap up the Women’s Center celebration of International Women’s Day because she is a well known strong woman that used her success to better the women around her. She believes in building each other up and celebrating who we are as individuals. With that being said, discover and share great stories of wondrous women with your friends and family. We are capable of anything as long as we have each other to rely on, so spread the positivity and encouragement!