America Ferrera Dedicates Critics Choice Award to “Every Kid Yearning to Break in”

America Ferrera accepts the SeeHer award at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards America Ferrera Critics Choice Awards.

Actress America Ferrera was awarded the SeeHer Award at today’s 2024 Critics Choice Awards, and delivered an acceptance speech that could rival her iconic Barbie monologue.

The SeeHer Award is a non-competitive special award that was established in 2017. It honours women in film who advocate for gender equality in the industry, and portray authentic, boundary-pushing characters.

Margot Robbie Presented the 2024 SeeHer Award to America Ferrera

Margot Robbie presents America Ferrera with the 2024 SeeHer Award
Getty Images

Margot Robbie presented the award to America Ferrera. In Robbie’s introduction, the actress and Barbie producer highlighted some of Ferrera’s career highlights, including Real Women Have CurvesThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Ugly Betty. Robbie also noted that Ferrera became the first Latina woman to win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series when she won for Ugly Betty, and remains the only Latina woman who has won in this category.

“First, and only,” Robbie reiterated. “I imagine being the first in any field can be isolating. I imagine it puts an enormous amount of pressure on you to be perfect, to play it safe, but what I admire most about America is how she has handled that pressure, while never being afraid to speak the truth when it counts the most.”

America Ferrera Delivers Powerful Speech on the Importance of Representation

On stage, Ferrera delivered a powerful and heartfelt acceptance speech with effortless charm.

“I’m just waiting for the teleprompter to show my speech, there it is!” she began, bursting into a grin.

Accepting the award, Ferrera spoke about her experience being a “first-generation Honduran-American girl in love with TV, film, and theatre who desperately wanted to be a part of a storytelling legacy that I could not see myself reflected in”.

“Of course, I could feel myself in characters who were strong and complex, but these characters rarely, if ever, looked like me,” Ferrera said. “I yearned to see people like myself on screen as full humans.”

Ferrera went on to recall her start in the industry, noting that at the time, “it seemed impossible that anyone could make a career of portraying fully-dimensional Latina characters”. She credited the writers, directors, producers and executives behind the scenes who have been “daring enough to rewrite outdated stories” over the years, and “to challenge deeply entrenched biases”.

She also gave a shout out to Ariana Greenblatt — who plays Ferrera’s daughter in Barbie — as well as Jenna Ortega and Selena Gomez, for making their mark in Hollywood as Latina actresses, and playing characters she “could not have seen growing up”.

“To me, this is the best and highest use of storytelling,” she continued. “To affirm one another’s full humanity, to uphold the truth that we are all worthy of being seen. Black, Brown, indigenous, Asian, trans, disabled, any body type, any gender, we are all worthy of having our lives richly and authentically reflected.”

America Ferrera Thanks Barbie Family

Ferrera went on to say that she would not be receiving the award if it weren’t for her role in Barbie, and took time to thank Robbie for seeing the “value” in “an entirely female idea that most would have dismissed as too girly, too frivolous or just too problematic”.

To Robbie, who produced the film, she said: “You had the courage and the vision to take it on. Thank you for gifting the world with Barbie.”

Next up was Barbie director Greta Gerwig, who Ferrera thanked for her “incredible mastery as a filmmaker” and for proving “that women’s stories have no difficulty achieving cinematic greatness and box office history at the same time”. She also thanked “the Kens” —  Noah Baumbach, Tom Ackerley, David Heyman, and Ryan Gosling.

Ferrera’s final thanks was to her husband Ryan, who she clarified was “not Gosling”.

“You see me and my dreams, and you believe and support them as if they were your own. I love you,” she said.

“This is for every kid yearning to break in — I see you, and you go this,” she finished.

The 29th Critics Choice Awards are streaming in full on Stan.

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