Real Women Have Curves, released on January 13, 2002, stars Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera as Ana García, an 18-year-old high school student facing a pivotal life decision. Ana must navigate between her own aspirations to attend college and her mother’s expectations for her to marry, start a family and inherit the family business. This narrative explores the challenges of balancing personal ambitions with familial obligations.
When the film producers put out a casting call for girls who were “fat” or “overweight,” thousands of girls who did not fit this description turned up but believed that they did.
America Ferrera was born on April 18, 1984, which made her 17 years old when the movie was released and earned praise for her film debut performance.
The 2002 American comedy-drama film Real Women Have Curves stars America Ferrera as Ana Garcia, a Mexican-American teenager from East Los Angeles who struggles with her cultural identity and body image while working in her sister’s garment factory (Credit: HBO Films / Newmarket Films)
Critical Recognition and Legacy
In 2019, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
It is the first Latina-directed film to be inducted into the National Registry. Real Women Have Curves became popular after winning the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Film and the Special Jury Prize for acting at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
It also received the Youth Jury Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Imagen Award, the Humanitas Prize, and a Special Recognition from the National Board of Review.
George Lopez as Mr. Guzman and America Ferrera in her film debut as Ana García in Real Women Have Curves (Credit: HBO Films / Newmarket Films)
America Ferrera on Casting and Role
In an October 2017 interview with EW, American Ferrera shared her experience when she was cast for a role that resonated deeply with her. After working on a Disney Channel Original Movie and attending a summer drama program, she received a call for an HBO audition. Still, she completed her drama camp first, demonstrating confidence in her decision.
Six weeks later, HBO was still interested. Ferrera was drawn to the role because it featured a Latin-American girl in a leading role, something she hadn’t seen in films before, and she felt a personal connection to the character’s background. Despite being only her second job and the daunting prospect of performing sensitive scenes in front of a large crew, Ferrera embraced the challenge, highlighting the film’s universal appeal and her growth as an actress.
I’d just shot a Disney Channel Original Movie called Gotta Kick It Up; that was the first time I’d booked a paying job. With my first check, I bought a car and paid for a summer drama program at Northwestern University before my senior year of high school. I was away at drama camp [when] I got a call from my manager that HBO was casting for a character I fit the bill for. They wanted me to come back and audition, but I was so set on drama camp that I refused. I said, “I’m going to finish drama camp, and in six weeks if they haven’t’ found someone, I’ll go in.” That was a bold thing to do for a 17-year-old with no credits to her name. Six weeks later, they [still] wanted to see me.
I was excited that there was a with a Latin-American girl in the lead, one who came from a background that felt similar to mine. I’d never seen a movie like it, and I’d never seen a character like this portrayed in film before… What’s special about the film is that so many people can watch it and see in themselves and the dream they have for themselves that their parents, family, or friends didn’t see for them. The specificity of it made it feel universal.
I was 17 years old, and it was only my second job. I’d never had to take my clothes off in front of a 200-person crew — most of them men. I’m sure I was incredibly intimidated by that. I remember wearing a robe between takes, and as the day went on, it was too much of a hassle to get the robe on and off between takes, so I was like, whatever, I’ll stand here without the robe!
America Ferrera curls her hair for the 2016 Stand for Kids Gala held on June 18, 2016, at the 20th Century Fox back lot in Century City, California (Credit: Nicky Nelson / WENN)
Philanthropic Endeavors and Style
In June 2016, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants actress hit the red carpet at the 2016 Stand for Kids Gala held at the 20th Century Fox back lot in Century City, California.
Together with some of her former Ugly Betty co-stars, she helped raise more than $10 million for UCLA’s Orthopaedic Institute for Children through a silent auction at the benefit.
The then-32-year-old actress smiled to the cameras in a chic little black dress that flaunted her curves.
America Ferrera wears a sleeveless little black dress on the red carpet of the Stand for Kids Gala (Credit: Nicky Nelson / WENN)
She styled the sleeveless knee-length dress with glittering gold earrings and champagne-toned Christian Louboutin “Flo” peep-toe pumps.
America Ferrera’s feet in Champagne-toned Christian Louboutin pumps (Credit: Nicky Nelson / WENN)
America’s patent leather peep-toe pumps are from Christian Louboutin’s 2013 Spring collection.
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