Ugly Betty Isn’t the Only Version of Betty You Need to Know

ABC series Ugly Betty, starring Barbie’s America Ferrera, is one of TV’s most well-traveled properties.

America Ferrera in Ugly Betty
Photo: Karen Neal | Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Barbie star America Ferrera is no stranger to big franchises. Before appearing in Greta Gerwig’s ode to womanhood and in NBC’s beloved sitcom Superstore, Ferrera got her start on a very relatable ABC primetime soap Ugly Betty.

First premiering in 2006, Ugly Betty ran for four season on network television and built up a devoted fanbase. The series, which is now streaming on Netflix, starred Ferrera as the titular “Ugly” Betty Suarez, a braces-wearing 22-year-old fashion neophyte from Queens. The show follows the awkward Betty as she lands a job at high fashion magazine Mode in Manhattan wear she works as a personal assistant under failson editor-in-chief Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius).

Ugly Betty was a lovely little series chock full of both drama and thoughtful commentary on how young women are expected to navigate their personal and professional lives. If that sounds like the kind of thing that would appeal to diverse audiences of women across the world, then congrats: you’ve worked out the premise of this article already!

Despite struggling with ratings and occasionally being on the bubble of ABC’s primetime schedule, Ugly Betty is one of TV’s most unexpectedly global endeavors. Not only was Ugly Betty a big international hit, having been sold to broadcast in at least 130 other countries, but it itself is just one of many other spinoffs of an original concept. Allow us to explain.


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