According to critics and those who work with Ferrera on Ugly Betty, such accolades were well deserved. "She's one of the most charismatic people I've ever met," says Salma Hayek, an executive producer of the show. "She's also authentic. That's a rare characteristic nowadays, and that's why people are falling in love with her. I knew the minute that I saw her that she was a superstar."
Ben Silverman, one of Hayek's fellow executive producers, agrees. "There's no bulls--- with her," he says. "It doesn't matter what makeup or hair or clothing she has on, she's so real that she grabs you. She's a very connected human being, and that really empowers her as an actor."
What's most interesting about America-as-Betty is the breadth of her appeal. The character has struck a chord with a remarkably diverse collection of fans 12-year-old girls, gay men, Latinas, the fashion crowdall of whom seem to want to adopt her as their mascot. The day after the Globes, for example, California Congresswoman Hilda Solis took to the floor of the House to, in her words, "commend America and everyone involved in Ugly Betty for helping to break down stereotypes and provide a role model for young Latinas." A few months later, Out magazine put the cast on its cover under a headline that read, HOW UGLY BETTY BECAME THE GAYEST, BEST SHOW ON TV. In the accompanying story, Ferrera recounted the surreal experience of attending the West Hollywood Halloween paradea big night for L.A.'s gay communityand seeing scores of guys dressed up as Betty. "Anyone who's ever felt like an outsider can see themselves in her and feel represented," she says. "And who hasn't, at some point in their life, felt like they didn't belong?"