These Iconic Ugly Betty Moments Defined A Show That Defined Our Youth
It has been over 10 years since the Salma Hayek-produced hit “Ugly Betty” aired its final episode. And we miss the Suarez family and the extravagant personalities of the magazine industry. While the story of “Betty, La Fea” had been adapted (and continues to be adapted) in numerous countries and languages, the U.S. version represented a breakthrough moment for the representation of Latinos. It also gave actress America Ferrara the ideal platform to launch her career.
Without “Ugly Betty” there would be no “Jane the Virgin,” no “Vida” (you gotta watch this one!) and no wider representation of Latino culture on television. The road is still long, but Betty and her poncho smashed the glass ceiling.
Here are some of our favorite moments of the show.
When Betty chats about ponchos with a top model who is wearing a Dolce & Gabbana cape.
We adore Betty because she is clueless and doesn’t buy into the whole fashion industry. This is Betty at her cutest, comparing her famous poncho with a super expensive one.
When she shows up to Mode’s headquarters for the first time, wearing her poncho, of course.
This tender moment took places in the pilot episode. We will never forget the bold yellow letters and our girl’s sunshine of a smile! This moment will be forever engrained in the history of television.
When Wihelmina gets risky duck injections this is more like a cautionary tale.
Wihelmina is funny and tragic in equal measures. We love her telenovela-like obsession with youth, and seeing her like this gave us a sense of guilty pleasure, TBH. Also: do not try this at home.
When Betty goes to London during Fashion Week in Season 4.
Really, our chiquita needed a break from all that drama. It was great seeing her in the British capital enjoying some time with her beau (Freddy Rodriguez, we miss you!). Betty looks so relaxed and elegant here, we can’t get enough of her.
When Amanda walks the halls of Mode naked and Betty gets freaked out.
This is such a Betty moment: the conservative Latina girl encounters the body positivity of the fashion industry. Ay, Dios!
When Daniel silently realizes a hug from Betty feels like home.
Betty and Daniel have such an up and down relationship. But when it is just the two of them, the pretty boy understands that he feels safe and loved with Betty. Nothing like a hug to reveal what the heart truly wants.
When Betty finally loses her braces and munches on a metallic bra to test her teeth.
Episode 17 of Season 4 was magical: our Betty finally shows her Million Dollar Smile! A new world of sensations awaits her as she enjoys a brace-free mouth for the first time in like forever. Oh, Betty, eres una chistosa.
When Wihelmina gets married but is jealous of Victoria Beckham.
Yes, Wihelmina loves the spotlight so seeing her compete for everyone’s attention with her famous maid of honor is funny, funny, funny. Victoria shines as the attention-grabber that becomes Wihelmina’s worst nightmare.
When Marc tells Betty she has it easy because she is Latina and there is affirmative action.
Betty gets picked up for a training program, YETI, and Marc doesn’t. He is obviously upset, him being him, and tells her that she got it because she is Latina. Such a relatable moment for all of us, eh!
When Marc finally comes out of the closet with his mom.
We do not care much for Marc: he is egocentric and makes our girl’s life a living hell inside Mode. But he gave us this very tender moment when he couldn’t keep his sexual identity from his mother anymore and just spilled the beans. Good on him.
Speaking of coming out. When Alexis Meade revealed she was trans.
She did so right in the middle of a fashion show. She revealed her identity as Daniel’s former brother. A truly groundbreaking moment in television history when it comes to the representation of non-gender-conforming individuals.
When cultures collide.
The show is very skillful in showing the tensions that exist when Anglo and Mexican-American cultures collide. Here we can see Marc visiting the Suarez family. An uncomfortable but very revealing moment that happens in the US every-single-pinche-day.
When Wihelmina shows men who boss really is all of the time.
Wihelmina is a much more complex character than we give her credit for. After all, she is a powerful woman in a corporate environment. As much as we mistrust her, we admire her will, elegance and general badass attitude. Queen.
When Justin auditions in Broadway.
We love how sure of himself Betty’s brother, Justin, is. He doesn’t give an F about what anyone thinks. He is flamboyant and he owns it! In this audition, by the way, he bumps into the school’s bully, Randy, and they form an unexpected bond. They were auditioning for “Billy Elliot,” by the way, a musical about overcoming stereotypes and just being yourself.
When Wihelmina performs onstage at a drag club.
After finding out that a drag queen has stolen her personality to stage a show, our villana takes matters into her own heels and goes on stage. It is “Ugly Betty” meets “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Sabor!
When Adele makes an appearance.
We just love the British diva, and so does Betty. When the singer shows up at a party and performs, Betty just can’t act like anything else but a fangirl! This episode helped Adele be more widely known in the coveted U.S. market.
When Justin is named the Homecoming Queen as a joke, but he owns the moment.
He accepts the flowers, dedicates the win to his late mom and turns humiliation into glory! Hail Queen Justin! Years later, “Glee”would do something similar.
When Justin experiences his first his… awww…
Another groundbreaking moment. Teen gay characters are often portrayed as conflicted and rejected. Not Justin, though, who shares his first kiss with pretty boy Austin. A tender, unforgettable moment.
When Naomi Campbell herself played ball.
“Ugly Betty”had its share of guest appearances, but one of the best was having the supermodel appear in season 2. She was playing in team Elleagainst team Mode: the rivalry spread from the glossy pages to the field. Just look at her.
When Betty met Shakira herself in the Bahamas.
Real women have curves, as we witnessed in this episode with two of the biggest Latina icons ever. Just seeing these two onscreen together gave us all the proud feels.