America Ferrera was fresh out of high school when her 2002 film Real Women Have Curves won her raves from independent film critics. From there she landed a few small roles in feature films before being chosen for the lead role in Ugly Betty, an ABC television series that began in 2006. (Her official site described the title character as "an unattractive but spirited secretary who doesn't quite fit in at the high fashion magazine where she works.") An American whose parents were Honduran, Ferrera began acting in local theater productions as a child. After her success in Real Women Have Curves, she continued starring in feature films and TV shows while also attending classes at the University of Southern California. Her other films include Lords of Dogtown (2005, starring Heath Ledger) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005). She added an executive producer credit to her resumé for the 2007 Colombian film Hacia la Obscuridad (Towards Darkness), in which she also appeared.
Ferrera was given the 2007 Emmy Award for best actress in a comedy after the first season of Ugly Betty… Famed insurer Lloyd’s of London announced in May of 2007 that they had insured Ferrera’s smile for $10 million. The policy was taken out by Aquafresh to support Smiles For Success, a dental care program for low-income women.