America Ferrera is feeling both nostalgic and grateful on the 20th anniversary of her first paid acting job in Hollywood.
On Friday, Ferrera, 37, took to Instagram and posted a series of photos from her debut role in the Disney Channel movie, Gotta Kick It Up!, along with an inspiring message.
’20 years ago today was my first day as a working actress. My mind was blown that my dream was becoming a reality. I was being PAID to act and dance in a Disney Channel Movie called Gotta Kick It Up!, the Los Angeles native started her post.
Celebrating herself: America Ferrera reflected on her career on the 20th anniversary of her first paid acting role in the Disney Channel original movie, Gotta Kick It Up!
Gotta Kick It Up! also starred Camille Guaty, Jhoanna Flores, Suilma Rodriguez, Sabrina Wiener and Susan Egan, and is based on a true story of a middle school dance team.
‘I couldn’t believe I was rehearsing with real dancers and choreographers, that all the snacks were free, and that my wardrobe fitting was on the famous Warner Brothers lot where I spotted George Clooney playing basketball and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston hanging out in the door of his trailer!!’ she reflected in the post.
While Ferrera began shooting the Disney Channel original movie in April 2001, it did make its premiere in the U.S. until July 26, 2002.
Living the dream: The actress revealed that her mind was blown when she realized she was living her dream of being a paid actress
Breakthrough: Ferrera made her professional paid debut in Gotta Kick It Up! alongside Camille Guaty, Jhoanna Flores, Suilma Rodriguez and Sabrina Wiener
Teenage star: Ferrera began shooting the Disney Channel original movie in April 2001, when she was just 17-years-old
Go team go: Ferrera play Yolanda ‘Yoli’ Vargas in Gotta Kick It Up!, which was based on a true story of a middle school dance team
Even at the young age of 17, Ferrera was wise enough to try and make the best of her breakthrough role as Yolanda ‘Yoli’ Vargas.
‘I soaked up every moment of being on that set with @camilleguaty @suilma #sabrinawiener & #jhoannaflores because the truth was I had no idea if I’d ever get the chance to do it again,’ she continued.
The mother of two wrote that she wished she could go back and tell ‘little baby America’ that ‘the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be.’
She concluded by adding a nod of respect to herself: ‘We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us. #AF20 #gottakickitup #20years.’
Me to me: The mother of two wrote that she wished she could go back and tell ‘little baby America’ that ‘the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity
Humbled: Ferrera shared she is proud and grateful to be working as an actress, producer, director, activist in the two decades since Gotta Kick It Up!
Making the most: ‘I soaked up every moment of being on that set with @camilleguaty @suilma #sabrinawiener & #jhoannaflores because the truth was I had no idea if I’d ever get the chance to do it again,’ she said in her anniversary post
After Gotta Kick It Up!, Ferrera made her feature film debut in Real Women Have Curves (2002), which was followed by The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008).
She also made waves as Betty Suarez in the ABC comedy-drama series Ugly Betty (2006-2010), the films The Dry Land (2010), Our Family Wedding (2010), End of Watch (2012) and the How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise beginning in 2010.
She would score another successful leading role in a television hit with the NBC sitcom, Superstore (2015-2021). The actress stepped down from the series after the fifth season in April 2020, citing her desire to work on new projects and spend more time with her family.
Ultimately, after season five was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferrera stayed on and was featured in the first two episodes of season six, as well as the final three, to help give her character a proper closure.
Moving on: Ferrera stepped down from her leading role in the NBC sitcom Superstore (2015-2021) after five seasons, but ultimately appeared on five episodes before leaving in season six