America Ferrera gets real about being Latina in Hollywood with Hillary Clinton

'We're taught to hate ourselves with as many, if not more, messages every day'

From the editors of InStyle US
Words by Meghan Overdeep

America Ferrera is telling it like it is. In the latest instalment of The New York Times‘s ‘Table for Three’ column, the Ugly Betty actress got candid with Hillary Clinton about the struggles women face in society, and the harsh reality of being a Latina in Hollywood.

‘Women grow up in the same culture as men,’ Ferrera, 33, said. ‘We’re taught to hate ourselves with as many, if not more, messages every day.’

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Seated beside the former presidential candidate at the Lambs Club in Manhattan, Ferrera, the first Latina in history to win an Emmy for best leading actress in a comedy, went on to explain how that’s amplified for Latinas.

‘As a woman, as a Latina, I’ve always felt there’s a very narrow version of me that’s acceptable, that’s allowed to succeed. And if I stray from that, I’m not just failing myself, I’m failing so many. So, I’ve operated from a place of fear, not from my most-alive self.’

Hiking, yoga, reading, prayer, chardonnay (but not Xanax): These are the things, along with family and friends, that helped @hillaryclinton after her defeat in the presidential election. But these are gentle pastimes. What about kicking things — or weeping? “No,” @hillaryclinton said ruefully. “I was more devastated than angry. Just overwhelmed. I tried to ground myself in what I was feeling. And what I felt was profound disappointment, worry for the path forward, and that I had let people down.” She let people down? @americaferrera, the actress and activist sitting next to @hillaryclinton, looked stricken. “It pains me to my core to hear you say that,” she said. She went on: “Every single one of us was insanely jealous of the woman who ran into Hillary on the hike.” Over late-afternoon snacks of charred shishito peppers, crispy brussels sprouts and cheese (iced tea for #HillaryClinton, white wine for #AmericaFerrera) at @thelambsclub, the pair spoke candidly about pain and progress — and hiking. Visit the link in our profile to read their conversation, and to see more photos by @damonwinter.

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Ferrera continued: ‘As an actress, the idea that women are relegated to a certain roles, and Latina women are further relegated to hyper-sexualised objects, just to fit in, has completely limited my career and me as a human being. But I’m calling bull!’ she added. ‘Why should I have to compete with every other brown woman just because somebody says this is the amount of pie we’re willing to give you?’

And at the end of the meal, both women revealed they have no plans to ‘shut up’ any time soon.

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