Glam America Ferrera Talks About Tough Childhood

10/31/2007 at 10:30 AM EDT

Glam America Ferrera Talks About Tough Childhood
America Ferrera
Courtesy Marie Claire UK
America Ferrera hasn’t seen her father since he left the family when she was young and the Ugly Betty star says it took a long time to come to terms with his departure.

"It wasn’t easy, but as a kid you find ways to make sense of it." Ferrera, 23, told British Marie Claire for its December issue. "I remember just bits and pieces of that time in my life, but I do remember being so incredibly matter-of-fact."

Posing for a set of sultry black and white pictures – sans Betty's braces and bushy eyebrows (check them out here) – she added, "It wasn't until I was older that I thought, 'Damn, I never really grieved over that.' And there have been male figures in my life who provided that kind of fatherhood for longer than he was ever in my life."

Glam America Ferrera Talks About Tough Childhood| America Ferrera

Courtesy Marie Claire UK

The Emmy-winning actress, who is the daughter of Honduran immigrants, also opened up about her modest beginnings.

"My family never lied about the fact that we didn't have a lot," she said. "You just kind of have to play the cards you're dealt."

Her heritage also means she can relate to Betty Suarez, the character she plays in Ugly Betty.

"It feels good to be a part of a show that means more to people than just entertainment, and which confronts a lot of issues, like the portrayal of a Latin family with a father struggling for citizenship," Ferrera said.

"Many people kind of see it as a pioneer show for their cause. Ugly Betty addresses these serious issues with humor, and that's the easiest way to make people listen as opposed to being preachy and shoving it down their throats."

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