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Critics Choice Awards: Read America Ferrera’s Inspiring Acceptance Speech in Full

America Ferrera was honored with the SeeHer Award at Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards.

Margot Robbie introduced her Barbie co-star, saying: “She is an artist and an activist. She tells us the truth and asks us to reach for something more in the world and in ourselves. She deserves to be celebrated.”

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When Ferrera stepped to the stage, she had a bit of a teleprompter issue that got the audience laughing (in a supportive way) before delivering an inspirational speech.

Read her full speech below.

I’m just waiting for the teleprompter to show my speech. There it is.

Thank you so much to the Critics Choice Association. Truly, your voices shape how people think about and value the stories we tell. I’m deeply thankful to you for this acknowledgment and this honor. Receiving the SeeHer Award for my contributions to more authentic portrayals of women and girls — could it be more meaningful to me? Because I grew up as a first-generation Honduran American girl in love with TV, film and theater, who desperately wanted to be a part of a storytelling legacy that I could not see myself reflected in.

Of course, I could feel myself in characters who were strong and complex. But these characters rarely, if ever, looked like me. I yearned to see people like myself onscreen as full humans.

When I started working over 20 years ago — that seems impossible, I know — but it seemed impossible that anyone could make a career portraying fully dimensional Latina characters but because of writers, directors, producers and executives who are daring enough to rewrite outdated stories and to challenge deeply entrenched biases, I, and some of my beloved Latina colleagues, have been supremely blessed to bring to life some fierce and fantastic women.

Uh, skip this part. I cut that. (Laughter.) Thank you. OK. Stop, stop, stop. (Applause.)

Because of that, we have had the chance to bring through some deeply layered Latina characters and characters that I could not have seen growing up.

But now I can see her and I see her expanding in the next generation of talent like my beloved Ariana Greenblatt, who plays my daughter in Barbie, and in Jenna Ortega, and in Selena Gomez, and in so many more out there. To me, this is the best and highest use of storytelling to affirm one another’s full humanity, to uphold the truth that we are all worthy of being seen — Black, brown, indigenous Asian, trans, disabled, any body type, any gender. We are all worthy of having our lives richly and authentically reflective.

There have been so many people along my path who have truly seen me and who I would not be here without. So I have to think Jodi Peikoff, Carrie Byalick, Kim Gillingham, Ali Trustman and my wonderful team at CAA and my incredible publicists, Molly Kawachi and Brianna Smith.

I also know that I would not be standing here today without Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig. Margot, where’d you go? Margot, you saw value in Barbie, an entirely female idea that most would have dismissed as too girly, too frivolous or just too problematic. But you had the courage and the vision to take it on. Thank you for gifting the world with Barbie.

And Greta. Greta, I can’t see you because the cameraman is standing right and I can only see Ryan [Gosling]. (Laughter.) There you are. Greta, thank you for proving through your incredible mastery as a filmmaker that women’s stories have no difficulty achieving cinematic greatness and box office history at the same time and that unabashedly telling female stories does not diminish your powers, it expands them. Greta, your mind, your talent, your heart have inspired us all. And thank you for asking me to be your Gloria.

Thank you to thank you to our Kens — Noah Baumbach, Tom Ackerley, David Heyman and Ryan Gosling —  for all being man enough to support women’s work. You are all brilliant and you are more than “Kenough.”

Thank you to Pam Abdy, Mike De Luca, Robbie Brenner and the wonderful teams at Warner Bros. and Mattel for all of your support.

And thank you to my husband, my husband Ryan, not Gosling, the other one. El esposo de Gloria. You see me and my dreams and you believe and support them as if they were your own. I love you.

This is for every kid yearning to break in. I see you, and you’ve got this. Thank you. Goodnight.

See a full list of Critics Choice Awards winners here.

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