¿Y Ahora? Where Is the Cast of "Ugly Betty" Today?
When "Ugly Betty" premiered on ABC in 2006, it was a rarity — an English-language, US-based adaption of a famous telenovela, "Yo soy Betty, la fea." Its success — four seasons and multiple awards — should have made the show a blueprint for more to come. But as star America Ferrera has mentioned, "Ugly Betty" stood alone and we were without the Latinx representation it brought with it for a long time after its cancelation in 2010. Still, for four glorious years, nerdy Latinas had a primetime heroine in Ferrera's Betty Suarez. She was a woman who refused to define her worth by the male gaze, who drew strength from her blended Latinx family, and whose determination and heart made her easy to root for. And root for her we did through professional and personal hijinks as she went through love interests, frenemies, and plots to take over the fictional Meade media empire and its fashion imprint, MODE.
Ferrera was backed up by a cast of stellar Latinx actors, playing her family and occasional coworkers. This centering of our experience, at home and at work, showed how our culture's propensity towards familismo really works — the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. Of course, it took one of our own to make that happen. Salma Hayek executive produced "Ugly Betty," even holding a recurring role in the first season. The family portion of "Ugly Betty" also led to an important and early portrayal of what it means to be gay and Latino — thanks to Mark Indelicato's role as Betty's nephew Justin. Justin always popped in a show full of talents and his character served as a role model for the positive ways our families can support young queer men — a dynamic the show duplicated by airing the first time two same-sex minors kissed on network TV.
We're still rooting for the show's stars. America Ferrera has become a leading light in Latinx Hollywood, directing, producing, and acting in some of our favorite shows. Mark Indelicato recently returned to regular roles in TV and we can't take our eyes off him. And that's before we get to the rest of the Suarez family and MODE crew. So, join us in finding out where the cast of "Ugly Betty" is now!
America Ferrera as Betty Suarez
America Ferrera came to land the main character role as Betty in "Ugly Betty" after having broken out in "Real Women Have Curves" four years prior. By then she had proven her ability to contribute to ensembles in "Gotta Kick It Up!" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." The primetime network show arguably turned Ferrera into a household name and A-list star, thanks in part, to her becoming the first Latina to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007 (and still the only Latina to do so). Since then, she's appeared in all sorts of projects including voicing Astrid in the "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise, staring as Amy in "Superstore," and guest starring in "Gentefied." Ferrera appears to be moving her ambition behind the camera with one particularly exciting project coming up — the film adaptation of Erika L. Sánchez's acclaimed novel, "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter."
Salma Hayek as Sofia Reyes
Of course, America Ferrera wasn't the only A-list Latina to be attached to "Ugly Betty." Salma Hayek was one of the most well-known movie stars on the series with leading roles in films such as "Frida" and "Desperado." But Hayek, who is also an accomplished producer, executive produced the show and was instrumental in getting "Ugly Betty" on ABC. In addition to a couple of cameos, she appeared in six episodes in the first season as Sofia Reyes, a rival editor of Betty's boss Daniel at the fictional Meade conglomerate. And while she's arguably one of the few remaining movie stars, she's also kept up her interest in TV over the years, appearing in Tina Fey's and Alec Baldwin's "30 Rock" and producing Netflix's telenovela-esque, Spanish-language, tequila empire drama, "Monarca."
Tony Plana as Ignacio Suarez
Tony Plana has been acting since 1978 and has more than 200 credits to his name. He was on everything from the original "Miami Vice" to "Madam Secretary" and everything in between. In "Ugly Betty," he plays Betty's supportive father, Ignacio, who displayed a positive version of Latinx masculinity, untied to the stereotypical markers of the drug trade or gang life. Since then, he's obviously been busy and it's always a joy to see him on shows with large Latinx casts, such as "Mayans MC," "One Day At a Time," and even "Jane the Virgin."
Mark Indelicato as Justin Suarez
Mark Indelicato played Betty's nephew, Justin, on the show and was just 12 years old when the first season aired. He was fabulous for three seasons before coming out in the fourth, surprising only those who thought a network TV show wouldn't be brave enough to do it. The role helped GLAAD name "Ugly Betty" its Outstanding Comedy Series two years running, thanks to its positive portrayal of an LGBTQ+ character. After "Ugly Betty," Indelicato appeared in TV episodes here and there before really re-premiering himself as a grown-up actor such as Jorge Diaz Jr. in Gloria Calderón Kellet's "With Love" and as Damien in the critically acclaimed "Hacks."
Ana Ortiz as Hilda Suarez
Like Hilda Suarez, Ana Ortiz is in many ways Betty's opposite. She's the sexy older sister but don't let all the cleavage fool you. Hilda may not have Betty's white-collar pedigree but she is smart and ambitious in her own right. Suarez was acting regularly before "Ugly Betty," but being a regular on a primetime network TV show moved her up a tier. She went from supporting actress to lead actress, helming Lifetime's overly-maligned "Devious Maids." Now, you can watch her as the mom in "Love, Victor" (proving her continued commitment to LGBTQ stories) and wherever big groups of Latinx actors congregate — whether it's the mind-bending Amazon series "Undone" or the children's classic and first Disney Latina princess series, "Elena of Avalor."
Eric Mabius as Daniel Meade
Eric Mabius plays Daniel Meade in "Ugly Betty," a total playboy whose done nothing to earn his role as MODE editor-in-chief (except being born into the family that owns it). He becomes so infamous for hooking up with the women at his job that his dad hires an "ugly" assistant to keep him from sleeping with them. Of course, Daniel evolves over the seasons, growing to appreciate Betty for who she really is. For his part, Eric Mabius has been acting regularly since 1995. Going into "Ugly Betty," fans may have recognized him from teen favorites like "Cruel Intentions" or "The OC." But he grew up quickly and even found time to do the first "The L Word" while filming "Ugly Betty." Since then, he's been acting consistently, starring in Hallmark's "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered" franchise (the originating 2013 TV show has been followed by TWELVE movies and counting) and appearing in "Chicago Fire" to name a few.
Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater
Vanessa Williams needs no introduction. She came into the show famous, having turned from being the first Black woman to win Miss America and then infamously being made to return her crown into a music career before pivoting to acting. Playing arch villain Wilhelmina Slater let Williams show off her acting chops, including her ability to find humor in camp, intimidate whoever was before her, and make a fabulous exit. Indeed Williams was nominated for two Emmys and won back-to-back NAACP Image awards for the role. She then went directly from "Ugly Betty" to "Desperate Housewives" and has kept busy acting since. She's appeared in shows as varied as the critically acclaimed "The Good Wife" to the children's standby "T.O.T.S."
Becki Newton as Amanda Tanen
As Amanda Tanen, Becki Newton starts as Betty's enemy and tormentor along with friend Marc St. James. But the three up-and-comers eventually form an uneasy alliance, realizing they need each other to move up the ranks at MODE. Newton did some acting before "Ugly Betty," but Amanda was certainly a breakout role for her. After the show ended, she starred in her own show, "Love Bites" on NBC. But it only lasted one season. She's gone on to appear in some of our favorite shows with a two-season arc in "How I Met Your Mother," as the new wife in Sarah Jessica Parker's "Divorce," and now in Netflix's "The Lincoln Lawyer."
Michael Urie as Marc St. James
Michael Urie's path seems to echo Newton's. He too came in with a relatively small resume and broke out on "Ugly Betty," in part because he and Newton did the spin-off "MODE After Hours," showcasing their characters' shenanigans. When "Ugly Betty" ended, he also got his own show CBS's "Partners," opposite David Krumholtz, Sophia Bush, and Brandon Routh. But it too only lasted one season. However, he's been busy with ensemble work since, with recurring roles in "The Good Wife" and its spinoff "The Good Fight," Darren Star (and Hilary Duff's) "Younger," and the forthcoming "Shrinking" with Harrison Ford, Jason Segel, Christa Miller, and Jessica Williams.
Rebecca Romijn as Alexis Meade
Rebecca Romijn had a whole life in the public eye before becoming Alexis Meade in "Ugly Betty." She'd had a hugely successful modeling career, some tabloid time thanks to her split with John Stamos, and starred in the 2000s "X-Men" movies as Mystique. As a cis-gender woman playing a trans character though, she fell into portraying some stereotypes as the character embodied the false idea that trans people are naturally duplicitous and focused on appearances. In the decade-plus that's followed, she's picked less controversial roles, staring in "The Librarians" on TNT and in the re-vamped "Star Trek Universe," appearing across properties such as "Discovery" and "Strange New Worlds" as Number One.
Judith Light as Claire Meade
Judith Light is delightful as the conniving Claire Meade, ex-wife of Bradford Meade, and the mother to both Daniel and Alexis. She even got an Emmy nomination for her work as the troubled and troublesome matriarch. With a career that spans decades with memorable roles as the leading woman in 1984's "Who's the Boss?" Light goes through "Ugly Betty's" early aught years, and continues in the critical favorite "Transparent" and "tick, tick... BOOM!" She also starred as Ryan Murphy's muse across his "American Crime Story" and "American Horror Story" franchises.
Freddy Rodríguez as Gio Rossi
As Gio Rossi, Freddy Rodríguez plays another one of Betty's love interests, this time a sandwich entrepreneur who while interested in Betty can't seem to handle all of who she is — a round-the-way Latina with a fancy Manhattan job. They do share a connection though and not just via MODE. Gio is the older brother of Antonella, a girl who goes to school with Betty's nephew Justin. Rodríguez had a long career before "Ugly Betty," including a leading role in "Six Feet Under" as the apprentice undertaker and Justina Machado's husband. And he's kept his career up with big roles in "Bull," "Young Justice" and "The Night Shift."
Adam Rodriguez as Bobby Talercio
Cuban and Puerto Rican actor Adam Rodriguez gives Hilda the happily ever after we'd been rooting for in "Ugly Betty" season four as Bobby Talercio. The two had previously met in high school but don't hook up until they're adults, reconnecting when Hilda learns that Bobby is the driver's ed teacher at Justin's school. He proves himself by seeing her through a miscarriage and offering unconditional love to her and her son. Outside of the "Ugly Betty" fandom, Rodriguez is perhaps best known for his role in "CSI: Miami." If you're still nurturing a crush on him, perhaps check out the "Magic Magic" films in which he plays a hot male stripper!
Daniel Eric Gold as Matt Hartley
Daniel Eric Gold plays Betty's secretly rich, sports guy boyfriend Matt Hartley for seasons three and four. Gold came to "Ugly Betty" with a few credits to his name but has since gone on to quadruple his acting credits with roles in productions like "Girls," "Chicago Fire," and "The Magnificent Meyersons." He also had recurring roles in Amazon's "Good Girls Revolt" and YouTube's "Group," although his romance with Betty is still our favorite.
Luna Lauren Velez as Elena Sanchez
Luna Lauren Velez has become one of those Latina actresses who has appeared in all of your favorite shows. In "Ugly Betty," she played Elena Sanchez who starts off as Ignacio's nurse before turning into his love interest. Prior to "Ugly Betty," Velez appeared in shows such as "Law and Order: SVU, " "Oz," and "New York Undercover." Now, she's maybe most well known for her turn as Maria LaGuerta in "Dexter," although she's been busy since that show wrapped, with parts in "South of Hell," "How to Get Away with Murder," and "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."