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America Ferrera receives the prestigious SeeHer Award at Critics Choice

America Ferrera receives SeeHer Award for gender equality advocacy and portrayal of complex women.

At the 2024 Critics Choice Awards, actress America Ferrera was honored with the SeeHer Award for her advocacy for gender equality and her portrayal of authentic, stereotype-defying characters. Presenting the award to Ferrera was Margot Robbie, who delivered a heartfelt speech highlighting the impact Ferrera has had on the film and television industry.

Robbie acknowledged Ferrera's significant achievement as the 'first and only' Latina to win the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy for her role in Ugly Betty. She praised Ferrera for her ability to handle the pressure of being a trailblazer while fearlessly speaking the truth when it matters the most.

In her acceptance speech, Ferrera expressed gratitude for the SeeHer Award, emphasizing its personal significance to her due to her roots. She shared her yearning to see individuals like herself represented as fully realized characters on screen, acknowledging the initial impossibility of such a career. However, thanks to the work of writers, producers, and directors, she and her fellow Latina colleagues have been blessed to breathe life into fierce and fantastic women.

Ferrera's speech resonated deeply with many women in the audience, including Brie Larson and Taraji P. Henson, who were visibly moved by her words. She took a moment to honor director Greta Gerwig, recognizing her mastery in showcasing women's stories as both cinematically great and commercially successful. Ferrera also acknowledged male allies in the industry, thanking Noah Baumbach and Ryan Gosling for their support of women's work.

Expressing love and gratitude for her husband, Ryan Piers Williams, Ferrera acknowledged his unwavering belief in her dreams. She concluded her speech by celebrating the power and expansion that comes with unabashedly telling female stories.

The SeeHer Award, established in 2017, is a collaboration between the Critics Choice Association and a collective of international marketing and media organizations. It recognizes leading actresses who advocate for gender equality and portray authentic, boundary-pushing characters. Previous recipients of the award include Viola Davis, Zendaya, Halle Berry, and Janelle Monáe.

Ferrera's commitment to empowering women extends beyond her acting career. She co-founded the digital lifestyle community Poderistas, which aims to uplift Latina women and inspire change in their lives, communities, and nation. She is also an active public speaker, having appeared at events such as TED, the DNC, and March for Our Lives. Ferrera's activism has been featured in several television documentaries.

Notably, Ferrera's performance in the film Barbie featured a powerful speech that became a cornerstone moment of the movie. Her character, Gloria, inspired Barbie by shedding light on the challenges of being a woman. The emotionally-charged scene, which Ferrera ran multiple times, moved crew members to tears, as recounted by writer-director Greta Gerwig. Audiences also reacted strongly, with mothers approaching Ferrera to share how the scene impacted their children.

At the recent Golden Globe Awards, Kevin Costner, who co-presented an award with Ferrera, commended her speech by reciting a few lines from it. The impact of her words was evident as he praised her poignant delivery.

Barbie leads the nominations at this year's Critics Choice Awards with a record-breaking 18 nods. Among them, Ferrera received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, while Margot Robbie was recognized for Best Actress and Ryan Gosling for Best Supporting Actor.

Stay tuned to PEOPLE's comprehensive coverage of the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards, airing live from Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on The CW.

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