America Ferrera had a 'whitewashed existence' growing up

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America Ferrera attends the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards credit:Bang Showbiz
America Ferrera attends the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards credit:Bang Showbiz

America Ferrera had a "whitewashed" upbringing.

The 36-year-old actress, who was born to Honduran parents, has recalled being forced to hide her Latino identity as she grew up in a predominantly white and Jewish area in Los Angeles.

After years of "assimilating", as was "encouraged", eventually the former 'Ugly Betty' star was able to "find my way back to my Latino identity".

Appearing on 'The Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham' to promote the new series of Netflix's 'Gentefied', which follows "three Mexican-American cousins and their struggle to chase the American Dream", Ferrera ​shared of her own "personal" connection to the story

She said: "I went to public schools that were predominantly white. And, I lived in neighbourhoods that were you know, we were surrounded by predominantly white and actually very Jewish communities.

"And so, you know all of that to say that my Latina identity was not at the forefront of my childhood, and, in a lot of ways, but the cousin Chris, she's like, the whitewashed one. He's the one who like his dad moved to Ohio.

"And, you know, he comes back to like, learn his roots, like, unfortunately, I'm the annoying one who like I had to find my way back to my Latino identity. Like, you know, I was raised in a lot of ways to prioritise like assimilation and to prioritise, success and success often meant assimilating and it meant kind of hiding anything that made you feel other and different and really blending in and for me that was, you know, a very whitewashed kind of existence.

"And so, in a lot of ways, the storyline and getting to tell this story is a very personal one. Because I now do feel so identified as a Latina, but that wasn't really encouraged for me growing up."

Ferrera directed two episodes in the latest instalment of the comedy-drama and is also an executive producer.

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