America Georgine Ferrera (born April 18, 1984) is an American actress. She plays the lead role in the television series Ugly Betty. She also starred in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, and she is the voice of Astrid Hofferson in the film How to Train Your Dragon. Ferrera also voices Astrid in the series. She reprised her role as the voice of Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Ferrera, the youngest of six children, was born in Los Angeles, California, to parents who immigrated to the United States from Honduras in the mid-1970s. Ferrera's mother divorced her father and raised six children by herself. She worked as a housecleaning staff director for a Hilton hotel, and always stressed the importance of higher education to her children.
Ferrera was raised in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles, where she attended George Ellery Hale Middle School and El Camino Real High School. From the age of seven, when she landed a small role in a school production of Hamlet, Ferrera knew that she wanted to be a performer. She acted in school plays and community theater in Los Angeles throughout her youth, though with little help from her mother, who insisted that she pursue other interests because she was concerned her daughter would encounter difficulties breaking into the industry. Ferrera was forced to take the bus to auditions, though eventually her mother saw her daughter’s dedication and began to drive her. Ferrera disliked her first name as a child and went by her middle name, "Georgine", until she began acting professionally.
In July 2002, Ferrera made her first TV movie, Gotta Kick It Up! for The Disney Channel. That same year then her uncle died, she made her feature film debut in the indie sleeper hit Real Women Have Curves. Ferrera followed this with roles in both television (Touched by an Angel) and film (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Lords of Dogtown). Ferrera received a 2005 Movieline Breakthrough Award. In December 2005, she appeared in the off-Broadway play Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, directed by Trip Cullman.
She landed the lead role of Betty in Ugly Betty in 2006. Ugly Betty is an adaptation of the Colombian hit telenovela Betty La Fea, in which she portrays an awkward girl whom her peers find extremely unattractive. As Betty Suarez, Ferrera wears braces, has bushy eyebrows and a disheveled wig, and make-up and clothing intended to downplay her own looks.
For her role in Ugly Betty, Ferrera won the 2007 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical, beating out fellow nominees Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary-Louise Parker. As a result of the award, she was congratulated by the U.S. House of Representatives as being a role model for young Hispanics. On 28 January, 2007, Ferrera won the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series. She also starred in and was the executive producer for the poignant short film Muertas.
In 2007, Time Magazine chose Ferrera as one of the top artists and entertainers in their “Time 100: The Most Influential People In The World” issue. In July 2007, America Ferrera also won Imagen Foundation’s Creative Achievement Award.
On September 16, 2007, Ferrera won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series for her role of Betty Suarez on ABC’s Ugly Betty. In the summer of 2007, she wrapped filming on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the sequel to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as Carmen. She also is the voice of one of the nature fairies in Tinkerbell (2008), and Astrid Hofferson in How to Train Your Dragon, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
- According to Douglas Sloan, America Ferrera was happy to come aboard and voice Astrid in the TV series, and was the same way about being the only one to play Astrid, as Jay Baruchel was about being the only to play Hiccup.