Gina Rodriguez became only the second Latina to take home the Golden Globe in the best actress category earlier this year. But while many celebrated the victory, it was a bittersweet moment for the first Latina to receive the award.
America Ferrera, 30, won her Golden Globe in 2007. While the actress says she was excited to see a friendly face follow in her footsteps, she hoped that in the eight years since that historic day there would have been more Latina winners.
“I’ve known Gina for years now, and she is an incredibly warm, genuine and gifted person. I’m very, very happy for her,” Ferrera recently told The Huffington Post. “[But] it’s a little disheartening to know that there are only two of us.”
The two actresses share more than just a Golden Globe win. Both won the prize for lead roles in series that were adapted from Latin American telenovelas.
Ferrera portrayed an aspiring writer who lacks a sense of style in “Ugly Betty,” adapted from the Colombian soap opera “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea.” Rodriguez’s character in “Jane The Virgin,” adapted from Venezuela’s “Juana La Virgen,” also has a knack for writing, but the show centers mostly on what becomes of her life after the celibate 23-year-old is accidentally inseminated.
The “Ugly Betty” star said the lack of Latina Golden Globe winners is more a symptom of an industry that has yet to fully explore the diversity that exists across the country.
“The problem isn’t in the awards,” Ferrera said. “It’s not a Golden Globes problem, it’s not an award ceremony problem. It’s a creation of content issue. We need more in art and entertainment that is reflective of the world that we live in. And there’s just not enough reflection in it for women, for people of color. There’s still a huge amount of stories that have yet to be told, and we need those voices to find those platforms so that they can share those experiences.”
“As an audience member, I take it very personally, I take it extremely personally when I watch,” the star added. “I’m a huge lover of television and of film -- I have been my whole life -- and when there’s too much of the same thing and not enough to reflect the world that I live in, I take it personally.”
In addition to her work on "Ugly Betty," Ferrera has gone from sharing a treasured pair of jeans in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” to starring in her drama web series, “Christine.” She also had a short stint as an undocumented college student in “The Good Wife.” But more recently, the actress co-produced and starred as Sylvia in husband Ryan Piers Williams’ second film,” X/Y,” in theaters this Friday.
“The film is an exploration of connection and intimacy and relationships,” Ferrera told HuffPost. “I think this generation has many challenges to achieving all of those things. We live in an increasingly fast-paced, many-connections-a-day society. Whether or not those connections are necessarily meaningful is the question. All four of these characters that they follow in their individual chapters and perspectives are on a journey to find intimacy, whether they know it or not."
“X/Y” follows a group of four New York City friends all born between generation X and generation Y (hence the film’s title). While they each have singular stories, all of the friends' chapters have one thing in common.
“We open with a sex scene, there’s a lot of sex in each of the character’s stories, but very very little of that sex ever leads to filling the void that these people are looking to fill.” Ferrera said. “True intimacy has to be truly worked for in this film. There are moments for each of these characters where you see opportunities for that true intimacy, and it’s very rarely in the sex. In this film, the sex is very much a distraction from intimacy.”
Williams directed, wrote and starred opposite his real-life wife as Sylvia’s longtime boyfriend, Mark. The movie was shot in New York City, where the couple currently lives.
“New York does present that kind of epitome of that paradox between constant interaction and yet ... you can be completely alone and feel completely lonely in a very populated space,” the actress said of the filming location. “I think that was sort of the physical manifestation of this idea that we can make a thousand connections a day and never feel connected to someone or something. I think that is definitely magnified in New York. But I’ve lived in LA and I’ve lived in other cities as well, and I think it’s true anywhere you go: That intimacy requires time.”
“It’s a vulnerable experience,” Ferrera added. “I think in this day and age we get to curate what we share and what people know about us, and we give more and more. We let people in more, but what we let them see is the good stuff and the stuff we want them to see.”