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The youngest of six children, America Georgina Ferrera was born on April 18, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Carlos Gregorio Ferrera and América Griselda Ayes, had emigrated from Honduras in the 1970s. After her parents divorced, she was raised by her single mother from Honduras with her 5 older siblings. Her mother made sure she received a proper education and once America went to college she noticed how little she knew about the world and she really wanted to make a difference in the world. Ferrera attended the University of Southern California, where she met Ryan Piers Williams in 2003. The couple got engaged in 2010 and married the next year.

America wanted to become an actress since she was a child but was told it was nearly impossible due to the fact that not many faces like hers have been seen on screen as they are today. She is a woman, who is a firm believer that a single person can make an impact if they really put effort and try. She began to think that her acting career was more self-serving than helping others, so she decided to quit acting but consulted her professor who left his corporate job to teach. Instead of supporting her like she thought was going to happen he persuaded her otherwise and proceeded to tell her a story where her acting in “Real Women Have Curves,” helped him connect with a Latina student he’d been mentoring.

Ferrera has used her celebrity status to speak up for causes she believes in, such as immigration reform. She has also served as an ambassador for Save the Children. For the 2012 PBS documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Ferrera traveled to India to meet the children of prostitutes and bring attention to the devastation caused by sex trafficking. She has also spoken at high schools and encouraged youth to overcome any obstacles in the way of achieving their dreams and to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

America Ferrera was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the top entertainers in the Time 100: The Most Influential People in the World issue. America received the Global Action award for Childhood Development and Education in 2011 due to her efforts of raising more the $44,000 to build an elementary school in Mali. She was also awarded with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Inspira Award which was given to her as a result of her contributions as a role model through her work as an activist and actress. In 2013, Ferrera was the keynote speaker at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s annual Denver luncheon; instead of speaking about her career she spoke about inspiring stories and then shared hers.