Looking at America Ferrera’s filmography it’s undeniable that she’s a great fit for The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. She is a young, vibrant, strong woman who brings a new voice that empowers women and girls to the screen.
We first met America on the Disney Channel in the made for TV movie Gotta Kick it Up! The show was centered on a high school dance team learning together that they are capable of competing and succeeding, proving their potential to both themselves and their community. The message went beyond dance and put girls who were typically not cast onto the screen. For young Hispanic girls it was about time to see someone who looked like them as a role model. As we were reminded by Miss Representation, you can’t be what you can’t see.
America continued to challenge typical character types by playing Ana in Real Women Have Curves. An independent film centered on a young woman who’s struggling to balance her mother’s expectations of her and her body and her own wants. It stuck a cord with audiences through it relatable plot and honest portrayal of body image and self-esteem. Like her character, Ana, America does not shy away from reminding girls they are more than their bodies. America has said: “Girls should be able to go to sleep every night and say to themselves, ‘I’m happy and proud of the way I am living my life.”
For girlfriends everywhere Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a reminder of close bonds and life changing friendship. America plays Carmen, a character that struggles with her confidence and identity. Her parents are divorced, she feels out of place in a broken family, and uncertain of who she is. She’s vulnerable, innocent, and misunderstood. Carmen wants to have it all together so badly, trying har
d to be perfect while all the walls around her come crashing down. Ultimately learning to trust friend, rely on those around her, and believe in herself, she finds her strength.
Audiences may know her best from Ugly Betty, the sitcom that brought America into the TV spotlight and that she won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for. But America Ferrera is more than Betty Suarez, the quirky and lovable aspiring fashion magazine writer. While Betty brought laughter into households for years and a fresh face for girls to look up to, America has been acting this role for more than a decade.
Beyond acting, America is a humanitarian. She has served as an ambassador for the global humanitarian organization Save the Children. In 2012, she joined Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn to bring their book Half the Sky to life in a PBS documentary. She travelled with Kristof to Kolkata, India to visit The New Light Shelter, a nonprofit organization that works to save girls from becoming victims of sexual exploitation and to improve lives of the children of sex workers. There, she met Urmi Basu, the brave and dedicated woman who founded the shelter; and she connected to the inspiring young girls who seek refuge at New Light.
Women and girls are her life’s passion. Not just when she’s visiting children in India or is taking a trip to Mali; her experiences live deeply within her. She is a voice and an advocate for women and girls in all facets of her life. She the voice that we need; the one that let’s girls know that they are important and powerful.
Join us and be inspired by America on May 9th at the Ohio Theatre!
Written by Kathleen Kishman and Sara Mitchell