For Latina actress America Ferrera, 2023 went down in history as one of her career’s “most important” years. From her iconic monologue in “Barbie” to her multiple appearances at events towards the end of the year, Ferrera is undoubtedly at the peak of her professional life.

In fact, having Jane Fonda, one of the most important actresses and activists of all time, quote Ferrera’s words in Barbie was a full-circle moment for an actress who knows how important representation is.

“She’s a legend, an icon and a trailblazer,” Ferrera told “The Hollywood Reporter.” “I’m overwhelmed that she recognizes my work as an actress and an advocate.”

Credit: Getty Images.

And for Ferrera, there is no greater commitment than being Latina

“For most of my career, I have not been considered for roles that weren’t written specifically for Latinas,” Ferrera explained. “And that, in itself, limits what people are willing to think of you and what’s available to you.”

However, Ferrera confessed that the greatest gift Barbie director Greta Gerwig could have given was to write her part in the film specifically for a Latina.

“I suspect that if she hadn’t written it as such, I wouldn’t have been the person they would have turned to,” she added. 

For the actress, the scope of Latino roles is much broader

As Ferrera explained, “Being Latina was not the purpose of the character.”

“She had to be a full human and representative of many things. It wasn’t a ‘check the box’ type of casting. That has started to change a little bit, at least for me,” she added.

Ferrera went on to explain how roles written for diversity go beyond a particular race. Citing her roles in films like “Dumb Money,” the actress added that “it’s great” to be “in the running for a role that’s not specifically written for a woman of color on the page.”

“That’s new to me after 22 years working and being in this industry. You’ve asked about the doors that don’t open; it’s really about the lanes that you’re allowed to play in, right?”

“You can’t build a complex and diverse career of dynamic and different characters if those roles aren’t open to you,” she added.