What The Cast Of Ugly Betty Looks Like Today

The ABC comedy series "Ugly Betty," based on the Colombian telenovela "Yo soy Betty, la fea," ran for four seasons in the late '00s and made a major splash in television history. The show is still celebrated for starring a Latina and featuring a Latin family so prominently at a time when there weren't many people of color in leading roles on television, for prominently featuring LGBTQ+ characters, and for calling out unhealthy beauty standards that are pervasive in the fashion industry. Although the show hasn't been on the air for over a decade, fans old and new are still enjoying "Ugly Betty" thanks to its availability on streaming services.

Part of what made "Ugly Betty" so special was its memorable characters. Many of the stars of the show were well-known actors prior to its start and others were just getting their feet wet in the industry, but all were beloved by fans just the same. Here's what the cast of "Ugly Betty" looks like today.

America Ferrera was in the Barbie movie

"Ugly Betty" was by no means America Ferrera's entrance into Hollywood — the actor had already made a name for herself thanks to her role in the film adaptation of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (and '00s Disney Channel fans will remember Ferrera for her part in "Gotta Kick It Up"). But her titular role on the sitcom as Betty, an eager and earnest young writer with dreams of one day publishing her own magazine cemented her place in the entertainment industry. After "Ugly Betty" ended, Ferrera continued acting in television and film, eventually becoming part of the cast of the 2015 comedy series "Superstore."

In 2023, Ferrera garnered a new crop of fans thanks to her part in the "Barbie" movie, particularly because the monologue she delivers near the end of the film sums up what it's like to be a woman in the modern world. "It hits deep. It's just true, and so it's very personal. But I don't know any woman who it's not true for. And then I think on that level, it made it feel like a big responsibility to get it right," Ferrera said in an interview with The Associated Press about her speech in the film.

Eric Mabius is a Hallmark star

Eric Mabius had been acting for over a decade when he was cast on "Ugly Betty." Mabius played Daniel Meade, an heir to the Meade fortune and the newly appointed editor-in-chief of Mode magazine. Mabius played some recurring roles on a couple of different television shows and had parts in movies like "Resident Evil" and "Cruel Intentions," but his part in "Ugly Betty" is one of his resume's most memorable entries.

After "Ugly Betty," Mabius found work in various projects, and he eventually found himself a home on the Hallmark Channel, starting his tenure at the network with his part in the 2013 television series "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Mabius has since reprised his role in the series for multiple films, and he's starred in other Hallmark projects, too. "That's the thing I love about Hallmark, that it really has nothing to do with blue or red, but it does unify people in that they all want to feel comforted, and they all want to have a happy ending even to find one on television if they can," Mabius said in 2018 to Smashing Interviews Magazine of his affection for Hallmark.

Tony Plana was on an HBO show

Tony Plana was one of several experienced actors on "Ugly Betty." His career had already spanned decades, with "Three Amigos!" and "Resurrection Blvd." among his most notable projects prior to joining the ABC telenovela. On the show, Plana played Ignacio Suarez, Betty's loving and protective father, known for comforting his children and grandchild with homemade culinary delights and rational pieces of advice.

For the career actor, the end of "Ugly Betty" meant Plana was back to the grind of auditioning. He consistently found work, landing arcs on shows like "Madame Secretary," and he even joined the cast of "Superstore" for some episodes to play America Ferrera's father once again. In 2023, Plana appeared on the HBO show "White House Plumbers," a miniseries about the Watergate scandal. Plana was happy to be part of the project. "I lived through the '70s. The design [of] the wardrobe for this thing is amazing, and it really helped us as actors just get into the period. All the art direction was so specific ... Everything was historically accurate and detailed. It was just amazing," Plana told Screen Rant of the show.

Ana Ortiz picketed for the WGA

Ana Ortiz had been acting for quite a while prior to her time on "Ugly Betty," but the ABC comedy was her most successful project to date. Ortiz played Hilda Suarez, who was Betty's older sister and Justin's mother. 

The actor continued her career after "Ugly Betty" ended with roles in films and notable tenures on the shows "Devious Maids" and "Love, Victor," the latter of which closely mirrored her time on "Ugly Betty." "When you're making a show, there [are] a few times you're like, 'Oh, this might be pretty amazing.' I had that experience with 'Betty' when we were shooting the pilot ... 'Victor' was the next time I felt that way," Ortiz told Elle of her experience with both shows.

Ortiz, like all SAG-AFTRA actors, was affected by the writers' and actors' strikes in 2023. Prior to the actors going on strike, Ortiz spoke out on social media in support of the writers' strike and joined her fellow artists on the picket line.

Vanessa Williams has done some voice acting

Vanessa Williams was a star before "Ugly Betty," and she's remained a star since "Ugly Betty." On the telenovela, Williams was cast as Wilhelmina Slater, the ruthless but beautiful creative director of Mode with the singular goal of becoming the magazine's editor-in-chief. After "Ugly Betty," Williams joined the cast of "Desperate Housewives" until its end, and since then, she's worked steadily in the entertainment industry, often lending her voice to animated projects like "Doc McStuffins" and "Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay."

Unlike her character in "Ugly Betty," Williams has completely embraced aging. The actor turned 60 in 2023 and had a very positive outlook on the milestone birthday. "It is a privilege, and there's a sense of ease. The older you get, the less you care about what everybody else has to say. You're living in your own glory," Williams said on "The Jennifer Hudson Show." "You accept yourself, you give yourself grace, and you don't beat yourself up the way we do when we're in our 20s and 30s."

Michael Urie is on Broadway

Like some of his other castmates, Michael Urie's first notable project in his acting career was "Ugly Betty." Urie played Marc St. James, the assistant to Wilhelmina Slater and an aspiring fashion editor who was almost always tied up in one of his boss' schemes. 

Urie kept acting on screen post-"Ugly Betty," but he found great success in stage work. The actor was celebrated for his work in 2011's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and he's been in multiple productions since, including 2023's revival of "Spamalot." 

"​​There's nothing like working in front of a live audience, and I can't imagine it not bringing me joy and inspiration. It's rare for a television show or movie to touch an audience as viscerally as a play can do. But it's hard work, and relentless," Urie said of stage acting in an interview with Broadway World, adding that there are aspects of screen acting that he appreciates, too.

It seems 2023 was a particularly good year for Urie's career — the actor also had a significant part in the Apple TV+ original "Shrinking," working alongside the show's stars Jason Segel and Harrison Ford.

Becki Newton is on Netflix

Becki Newton had been acting for a few years when she was cast on "Ugly Betty," but the ABC comedy was her big break, too. Newton was the lovably rude glamazon who floated between positions at Mode while teasing Betty and scheming with Marc St. James. Newton went on to act on other television series such as "How I Met Your Mother" and "Tell Me a Story," but her most significant role since "Ugly Betty" ended came in 2022 when she was cast alongside Manuel Garcia-Rulfo in Netflix's TV adaptation of "The Lincoln Lawyer."

Newton's character in "Ugly Betty" was dramatic and theatrical, but she was also sure of herself. The actor has found herself playing women with similar characteristics since then. "I'm drawn to bold characters in general ... I felt that the character was strong, interesting, and unafraid. I hadn't seen a lot of characters like that in dramatic worlds, so I just jumped at the opportunity to do it," Newton said of her most notable parts in an interview with Digital Trends.

Mark Indelicato is on HBO

Mark Indelicato began his acting career as a child, playing minor roles in a few projects before landing the role of Justin Suarez on "Ugly Betty." Justin was a fabulous adolescent whose interests differed from his peers but was loved and supported by his family. When "Ugly Betty" ended, Indelicato put his acting career on pause in pursuit of higher education. Aside from a few parts on screen in the aughts, Indelicato resumed his acting career in earnest in the 2020s, finding work on shows like "With Love" and the HBO Emmy-winning series "Hacks."

Indelicato has sung the praises of "Hacks," comparing his experience working on the show with his time on "Ugly Betty." "When the cameras are down and when we're not on set, to be able to be available to each other about our stresses, anxieties around our jobs, also getting to know each other as individuals and human beings. And I think that we have developed such a true family. I have not felt that since 'Ugly Betty,'" Indelicato told Nine.com of the two shows.

Judith Light was in Poker Face

The cast of "Ugly Betty" was full of legitimate Hollywood icons, both in guest and recurring roles. One such icon was Judith Light, who played Claire Meade — the mother of Daniel and Alexis and the wife of Bradford — who was continually protecting the Meade empire while battling her own demons. Light's storied career continued mightily after "Ugly Betty" was canceled, bringing her parts in acclaimed shows like "American Crime Story" and "Transparent." In 2022, Light had a part in the hit movie "The Menu," and in 2023, she appeared in an episode of the Peacock original "Poker Face" alongside Natasha Lyonne.

Light has gained many a fan over the course of her career, as well as the adoration of critics and nominations for major awards. In a 2019 interview, the actor reflected on her career and noted how it's continued to improve. "I've gotten the opportunity to speak out about what's valuable to me. And I find that at this point in my career, the more I mature, the more I'm getting those opportunities. The fact that that's happening now, more than it ever has before, is kind of striking and stunning to me," Light said to Elle.

Ashley Jensen has been acting steadily

Ashley Jensen played Christina McKinney on "Ugly Betty," the Mode seamstress and arbiter of the closet who dreamt of working as a designer and faithfully stood by Betty through the magazine's endless dramatic happenings. Jensen's part on "Ugly Betty" came off the heels of her role on the Ricky Gervais-led British sitcom "Extras," but the actor had been cast in several projects prior to both, including the series "City Central." "Ugly Betty," however, was her first major part in an American show. Jensen has steadily worked since leaving "Ugly Betty" ahead of its final season, her most notable role being the titular character in the 2014 series "Agatha Raisin."

For Jensen, television has always been important. "I grew up in a little kind of rural place in the southwest of Scotland, so I had no theater — we didn't really have a movie theater — so television was my connection with acting," Jensen told the Los Angeles Times in 2018 of her introduction into the craft, adding that she was particularly taken with comedic acting thanks to the '70s sitcom "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em."

Christopher Gorham was on Netflix with his old co-star

Christopher Gorham became known to "Ugly Betty" fans as Henry Grubstick, a Mode accountant who had an on-again-off-again relationship with Betty. Much of Gorham's acting career has been defined by recurring roles on television shows. Before "Ugly Betty," Gorham had parts in "Popular," "Felicity," and "Out of Practice," and after "Ugly Betty," he had parts in "Covert Affairs" and "Insatiable," among others.

In 2022, Gorham had another recurring part in a TV series — he played Trevor Elliot in Netflix's "The Lincoln Lawyer," the same show that starred his former "Ugly Betty" co-star Becki Newton. "I hope they have a great time," Gorham said to Pop Culturist of his hope for viewers who watch the streaming exclusive. "I think this is such a well-done, legal drama. If true crime and legal stuff is your jam, you're going to love this show. It's a great case and mystery. There are great performances, too. It's fun. I hope they enjoy it and I think they will."

Alan Dale starred in the Dynasty reboot

Alan Dale is known for playing rich, powerful businessmen. He played one on "The O.C.," and he played another one — Bradford Meade, the head of the Meade empire, father to Daniel and Alexis, and husband to Claire — in "Ugly Betty." Prior to finding success in the United States, Dale was acting down under, best known for his recurring role in the still-running Australian soap opera "Neighbours" (the same show that gave life to Margot Robbie's acting career). 

After his time on "Ugly Betty" ended, Dale found work on projects like "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Hot in Cleveland," and "NCIS," with his most notable role since "Ugly Betty" coming in 2017's "Dynasty" reboot on the CW.

Years after "Ugly Betty" ended, Dale still looked back on his time on the show with fondness, complimenting the other actors involved in the project. "It was really good fun. It was such an ensemble, and everyone got on really well," Dale said of the "Ugly Betty" cast in a 2021 interview with "The Morning Show."

Rebecca Romijn is an action show regular

Rebecca Romijn moved from a modeling career to an acting career in the late '90s, and she's been working as an actor ever since. In "Ugly Betty," Romijn was cast as Alexis Meade, Daniel's sister and Claire and Bradford's daughter who returned to society after faking her own death to undergo a gender reassignment surgery. "I really wanted to do that character justice — and make her as hot as possible," Romijn told the Independent of her aim for the character, as there were very few trans characters in television at the time. 

Romijn kept acting after leaving "Ugly Betty," working on a significant amount of action and adventure projects, including 2014's "The Librarians" and 2022's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."

The idea of an "Ugly Betty" reboot has been brought to the cast's attention before, and in 2023, Romijn shared her thoughts on the potential, noting that she likely wouldn't be part of it if one were to happen. "I do think Alexis should be cast with a trans actress. That would be the correct thing to do," Romijn said.