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Gay Times January 12 - Issue 401

America Ferrera

Talks to Darren Scott about her new musical role in Chicago

Everytime we interview someone from Ugly Betty – and that’s still quite a regular occurrence for us considering the show ended nearly two years ago – we talk about how much we’re obsessed with the fictional world of Mode magazine.
This hasn’t changed.
But now we’re face to face with actual Ugly Betty herself, America Ferrera. And she’s starring in London’s glittering West End™ in one of our favourite – if not actual favourite – musicals of all time, Chicago.
It’s all too much for a gentleman of certain persuasions to cope with. Of course as we all know (and you should too), Betty Suarez was last seen starting up a new magazine career in London. So, when she steps into the room in a figure-hugging red dress and looking a million miles from the bespectacled former Mode employee, we try alluding to this quite subtly by asking how she’s enjoying being back in the capital and if there’s a traditionally British thing that she’s looking forward to doing while she’s here… Pie and a pint maybe?
“Pie and a pint?” she repeats with a quizzical look and we briefly explain. “I haven’t done that yet. I don’t know what’s traditionally British that I want to do. I’m excited to discover how local and real Londoners live here, because I’ve only ever been here a couple of days at a time and I feel like I’ve always hit Trafalgar Square and the museums, and now I want to branch out and explore and figure out how people live here. I’m sure you’re not all eating pie every day. Or are you?”
We look down at our stomach guiltily and she laughs. But we’re in. She’s acknowledging THOSE Betty moments. We’ll play it cool and ask about rehearsals for Chicago…
“They’ve been good. I started in New York, I’ve been rehearsing for the past four weeks and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a great challenge and a lot of fun. It’s sort of a dream come true. I’ve always been a fan of musical theatre and I’ve been a huge fan of this show and also have always had this dream – or item on my bucket list – of getting to do theatre in the West End, and so I’m getting to fulfill a lot of wishes at the same time.”
We’re getting there… This is a slightly sexier role compared to previous ones. You know, like, say, Ugly Betty…
“It’s fun, I mean, you know, Betty feels like…” she hesitates and we sense perhaps it’s not top of her list of things to talk about. “We wrapped up the series about a year and a half ago but I’ve done a couple of roles between then and now so Betty feels like ages ago to me, even though I know for a lot of people that’s sort of the last thing they have in their mind. But I think Roxie is so much fun, and such an incredible challenge to step into shoes that have been filled by a lot of really wonderful actresses and wonderful women and to get to just discover who I am inside the character and in her skin. She is a lot of fun to get to play.”

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