America Ferrera, who was honored with the SeeHer Award at Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards, used her speech to inspire others.
Ferrera starred as Gloria in “Barbie.” Her character delivered a memorable movie monologue about the challenges of being a woman, and she was introduced by her “Barbie” co-star Margot Robbie.
Ferrera began by thanking the Critics Choice Association.
“Truly, your voices shape how people think about and value the stories we tell. I’m deeply thankful to you for this acknowledgment and this honor,” she said. “Receiving the SeeHer Award for my contributions to more authentic portrayals of women and girls — could it be more meaningful to me? Because I grew up as a first-generation Honduran American girl in love with TV, film and theater, who desperately wanted to be a part of a storytelling legacy that I could not see myself reflected in.”
Ferrera said she would often see herself “in characters who were strong and complex. But these characters rarely, if ever, looked like me. I yearned to see people like myself onscreen as full humans.”
“When I started working over 20 years ago — that seems impossible, I know — but it seemed impossible that anyone could make a career portraying fully dimensional Latina characters but because of writers, directors, producers and executives who are daring enough to rewrite outdated stories and to challenge deeply entrenched biases, I, and some of my beloved Latina colleagues, have been supremely blessed to bring to life some fierce and fantastic women,” Ferrera, who rose to fame in her starring roles in “Ugly Betty” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” said.
Ferrera said she sees growth with the work of actors like Ariana Greenblatt, who portrayed her daughter in “Barbie,” Jenna Ortega and Selena Gomez, who have come after her.
“To me, this is the best and highest use of storytelling to affirm one another’s full humanity, to uphold the truth that we are all worthy of being seen — Black, brown, indigenous Asian, trans, disabled, any body type, any gender,” Ferrera said. “We are all worthy of having our lives richly and authentically reflective.”
She also thanked others, including Robbie and “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig and the film’s “Kens.”
“Thank you to our Kens — Noah Baumbach, Tom Ackerley, David Heyman and Ryan Gosling — for all being man enough to support women’s work,” Ferrera said. “You are all brilliant and you are more than ‘Kenough.’”
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