I do! There are countless reasons why I identify with the fictitious Betty Suarez more so than any other TV or movie character who’s played the role of a writer or editor. Many female writers love to think they’re the next Carrie Bradshaw, but let’s face it–we all know there’s no way home girl was living in that Upper East Side apartment and wearing Manolos and Jimmy Choos on a freelancer’s salary (maybe when she got her advance for the book she wrote, but that came much later!). And then there’s the ever-so-frumpy Andy in The Devil Wears Prada who miraculously landed herself an assistant to the Editor-in-Chief position at the movie’s fake version of Vogue. While I love Meryl Streep’s amazing interpretation of The Ice Queen of Fashion, Anna Wintour, I just don’t see how Andy would have realistically gotten hired there when her everyday attire consisted of this:
Okay, okay… So Betty did show up on day one of her job at Mode Magazine wearing a poncho with “Guadalajara” printed across her chest in all its glory. I realize magazine life on Ugly Betty wasn’t necessarily realistic, but Betty’s values, dreams, and background are what made her so real. Her smart-as-a-tack ideas and relentless ambition to move up the ladder rarely stopped her from staying true to her heart and family… something she never traded in for fancy clothes or the good life. Betty had gumption. And what was most real to me is that for a long time, she still lived at home with her family in Queens because that’s what you’ve got to do for some years ’til you really make it big time in the city.
It’s rare to see Latin actors or actresses as lead characters in Hollywood, much less when being portrayed in a positive light. So I was crushed when the show was cancelled last year. Ugly Betty was a guilty pleasure I always looked forward to indulging in every week. I loved hearing her family speak Spanglish… it just felt like home. I would be so excited if the series decided to make a spin-off movie just because there was a lot more left to tell of Betty’s story as it had to be cut short and told in a couple of episodes rather than a few more seasons.
Needless to say, tears were shed when it was all said and done. I do hope a new show comes along that demonstrates to audiences of all kind that you can make it here regardless of where you come from or what you look like. With hard work and an endless fight, we all can succeed in this big, bad world. You’ve just got to be “Ugly” like Betty.