Anna Gragert
June 13, 2016 5:50 pm
ABC Studios

This past Saturday, the TV gods graced us with another cast reunion when the stars of Ugly Betty gathered together at the ATX Festival. In addition to posing for several group photos that are the definition of joyful, the cast also took the opportunity to discuss the show’s importance and impact on viewers.

When actress Salma Hayek was convincing America Ferrera to take on the role of main character Betty Suarez, she expressed that Betty “comes into this world of fashion, and she turns everyone else beautiful from the inside out.” At that point, America knew that Ugly Betty had to exist because she represents a real woman who’s beautiful on the outside and the inside. In fact, the actress wishes a character like Betty was around when she was growing up, so she’d be able to look up to her.

Though America is fully aware of Ugly Betty’s significance, she has been confronted by people who aren’t on the same page. “It’s funny when people are like, ‘Oh, what was it like to play an ugly character?’” revealed Ferrera, according to Motto. “I mean, we never ask men that. You know? We just say, ‘What a great performance. Good for you for taking on that character.’

America continued, “I think it’s kind of sad when, as a woman, the bravest thing you can do is be ugly, you know? It’s like, who cares? And then what? That’s what the show is about. It was about valuing a person for everything that they have to offer beyond the surface.

ABC Studios / giphy.com

We can’t help but agree with America – not just about Ugly Betty‘s influence, but also about how women’s appearances tend to be judged more than men’s. There was the time when actress Carrie Fisher’s body was criticized for having had aged between 1983’s Return of the Jedi and 2015’s The Force Awakenswhereas Harrison Ford’s appearance was left untouched. Another example involves Kate Winslet, who was told that, because of her weight, she’d only be able to “play the cute, fat best friend role or the ugly sister parts.” Plus, Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson once revealed that someone told her she was “too fat” for a part. Overall, we don’t really read about this kind of criticism being applied to men as often as it is to women.

With the above examples in mind, along with America Ferrera’s wise words, we’d also find it groundbreaking if an actor chose to play the male version of Ugly Betty.

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