She may have scooped a Golden Globe and is currently facing a major Emmy nomination for her role as the lovable “Ugly Betty,” but America Ferrera wasn’t always the confident young starlet she is today.
After a friend of the actresses wrote, what she called a “beautiful, beautiful script,” Ferrera decided she would go after the leading lady role in the film. She learned however that her features, weren’t the kind the producers were going for, and during Newsweek’s annual Emmy panel, Ferrera revealed the extreme lengths she went to — including using heavy makeup to disguise her skin color, to try and get the role.
“For a while, [getting the role] was a possibility and then it was, like, ‘Well, listen, the producers don’t want — they’re looking for someone who’s blond and who has, you know, lighter skin.’ And basically that was it. I didn’t even get to fail on my own. It was the first time I felt really angry. And so I went out and bleached my hair! I was 17, and it was the first time I’d done something out of anger. I bleached my hair and put on lily-white powder makeup-whiteface, I guess.”
Ferrera revealed a friend helped her realize what she was doing.
“My friend called me up and was, like, ‘I get it, I understand that it’s warped and twisted and it sucks. But you still don’t have the part.’”