'Ugly Betty' cast members share their memories

Ugly-Betty-charityImage Credit: Mike Coppola/ABCFilming might be over, but Ugly Betty cast members still had Betty on the brain at Axelle Fine Arts Gallery in New York City Monday during a charity auction for Save the Children. America Ferrera, an ambassador for the nonprofit group, and other cast members came out to help auction off original paintings featured in the episode ”The Passion of Betty” in hopes of funding the construction of a school in Mali. ”I believe children all over the world deserve a chance at bettering their lives and their situations,” Ferrera said. But before handing off pieces of Betty history to the highest bidders, the cast sat down with EW.com to chat about their memories as the series heads toward its final episode tonight.

AMERICA FERRERA (Betty Suarez)
On her castmates: ”It’s a wonderful for them to give up their night and come away from their families to be here supporting something I care so deeply about. [There's] an overwhelming amount of love in the cast.”

Why the show was important to TV: ”I feel like when the show came on the scene it was truly, truly unique. There was nothing that looked like it or felt like it. There had never been a TV show that centered around a young, smart Latina girl. And that was huge. I also think that what the characters Justin, Mark Indelicato, and Marc, played Michael Urie, did for the gay community was tremendous. [The show] just felt like it was truly a home for the underdog. That’s what sticks out when I think about it.”

More on America’s work with Save the Children.

ANA ORTIZ (Hilda Suarez)
Her favorite moments: ”The opening show of season 2, with Santos and Hilda, I think that’s definitely one of my favorite moments of the show and moments for Hilda. There was also –  probably less memorable to everyone else but to me it was really special – there was an episode shortly after Santos died where Justin’s character was acting all gangster, acting out, getting in fights, and Hilda and he really had to find their way back to each other and deal with each other. That was really special because that’s when I knew that Mark Indelicato was one of the finest actors I knew. And to see this little kid blossom into this wonderful actor and have a scene partner like that was really wonderful. And to be quite honest, I think this wedding episode was one of my favorites, too. Justin’s character coming out to the family, Hilda finally finding her true love, Betty realizing her dreams, it just all solidified. It had the danger of becoming packed and sort of becoming pedestrian, but the writers did such an amazing job keeping it really Betty and keeping it funny, charming, and intimate. And I got to wear a wedding dress!”

What Ugly Betty meant to her: ”I can’t tell you what an honor it’s been to be part of such an iconic Latin family. I’m going to get emotional! It’s meant so much [tears up] in my community just walking down the streets and hearing Oh my God, that’s my family. Just hearing that and seeing young people recognize themselves not only in Betty, but in Hilda and Justin and Papi. It was so incredible. To take that one step further, I heard that from non-Latino families. It’s really about representing working-class, real, blue-collar families when most of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck and figuring out how to pay our health care. It just wasn’t being shown on TV.”

On ”little Mark”: ”[America and I] made a pact with one another that we want to stay in little Mark’s life. We call him ‘little Mark’ but he’s taller than both of us. But we’ve always called him little Mark and little Mark he shall remain. We want to make sure that we continue to stay in his life because for all intents and purposes, we are his family and he is ours.”

Favorite Hilda line: (after ripping out Gina Gambarro’s hair extension) ”It looks like we now owe you four thousand dollars…and fifty cents.”

Second-favorite line: ”When Hilda was selling HerbaLex and her motto was ‘You gotta look it to be it! That’s the Herbalux way.’ America and I always did that. That was our little private joke.”

VANESSA WILLIAMS (Wilhelmina Slater)
On her favorite Betty scene: ”When Michael Urie and I were stuck in Queens and we were approached some ladies of the evening in the corner who wanted to attack me for my fur, and we ended up running down the street and finding shelter in the church and I took my heel and broke open the collection box to get money. It was a great start to a wonderful four years.” [Episode: ''Lose the Boss'']

On the show’s famous one-liners: ”The thing about Betty is that you have to be willing to make fun of yourself. You can call every other character a name. I love the fact that Wilhelmina never remembered Amanda’s name ever. You have to be willing to have people joke about you, especially my [character]. I was always attacked for my ageism, my being cold, my being friends with Dick Cheney – that was always a hilarious running gag.”

JUDITH LIGHT (Claire Meade)
Favorite scene to film: ”[One of the most] memorable scenes is the scene I did with Vanessa with the two of us in the pool. You know, it was so easy. They had orchestrated it so beautifully so that there wasn’t a lot of really anything. I went in first and did some of my coverage, and she came in did some of her coverage. Then the two of us said, ‘Let us just do this.’ The ease of it was really something that really surprised me. I knew Vanessa and I were going to have fun together, but we were like two little girls having this wonderful time in the pool.” [Episode: ''The Past Presents the Future'']

Her favorite quote of Claire’s: ”You seem surprised — yet your eyebrows haven’t moved at all.”

Why Betty was important: ”The show is a stealth weapon because of what it did under the guise of this world of fashion and this exciting New York life. What it really did was it brought home that this young woman was the sage, the wise one, the one with the integrity, the one with the clarity, and for all intents and purposes she looked like ‘the other.’ And everybody, I don’t care who you are, doesn’t feel like they’re the right stuff. Everybody has a Betty inside of them, and so I think for everyone, it touched their hearts in a way that was extremely rare.

On America Ferrera: ”She’s an extraordinary woman. That was the other part of the stealth weapon: casting her. Not only is she a brilliant actress, but she an extraordinary human being. She’s old beyond her years. I mean, I’ve never seen anything quite like her. She carried this with grace and equanimity. She’s powerful and generous and smart. If I had had a child, a daughter…”

Favorite plot twist: ”The story that I had actually killed Fey Summers and all the twists and turns that happened before I actually went to prison.”

MARK INDELICATO (Justin Suarez)
Favorite memory on the show: ”I shot a scene with America on the front steps [during the last episode], which people have seen pictures of, and we are reenacting the scene we did in the pilot. It was my favorite because it was sort of a blast from the past, like déjà vu, sitting on those same steps saying close to the same words. You know, it’s kind of like just where it all started, and one of my fondest memories in shooting the pilot ended up being one of my favorite moments shooting the series.”

On an…Ugly Betty movie(?!?): ”It settled in pretty quick for me that it was over, and I wasn’t going to get to be Justin any more – at least for a while. Let’s do a movie! That’s what I say.”

Why Ugly Betty was an important show: ”It was a show led by a Latina girl. Not even a Latino period, but a Latina woman. And also, we are a very, very diverse cast, everyone knows that, and that’s one of the reasons the show was so famous. We’re all so very different and that’s what made us amazing. That’s why [viewers], especially the gay community, were so accepting of the show the way that it is. It’s kind of like Lady Gaga. A lot of people don’t understand her, but you love her. Sometimes people don’t understand Betty, but you love her.

Best Betty plot shocker: ”When Wilhelmina got shot. That was just crazy!”

DANIEL ERIC GOLD (Matt Hartley)
Favorite memory: “For me, the best moments were when we shot our Bahamas episodes because it was so nice to have this group of people in this exotic locale and work during the day and have a great time at night. I came in during the third season and they’re such a tight family, but I always felt so welcome by everyone and became close friends with most of the cast. So for me, that was the nicest time because we got to kick back by the great pool, go to clubs together, and do stuff we never would have done.”

Most memorable scene: ”The last scene my character has on the show was in front of the arch in Washington Square Park, where I say goodbye to Betty. And when I walked up there and saw the arch all lit up and all the cast and crew getting ready for a long night of shooting, I kind of got a lump in my throat because I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to work in the city I love on the show I love.”

On why he’ll miss the show: ”Everything on the air now, it seems like it’s either a lawyer show, a cop show, or some kind of medical drama. It’s so limited. So to see a show with a heroine like Betty with her family and the challenges she faces as a single woman. You just don’t see a lot of those shows on television.”

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  • DDB

    I totally teared up reading all of the cast members’ memories. I’m going to be such a mess tonight!

    I also loved Judith Light speaking so highly of Vanessa Williams. I know the cast is friendly and tight-knit, but it’s always refreshing to hear people who play enemies on screen have nothing but love for each other in real life.

    • Emily

      I don’t remember Willy getting shot…is that a spoiler for the finale tonight????

      • Hilary

        she got shot at the end of the last episode last week.

    • Saundra Johnson

      It was a great show and I’ll miss it. It was different and related to the many issues we face. Hopefully, there is a plan for a spin-off and or movie.

      Thanks again, for a show that was about real people and issues.

  • MaryA

    Sob…I’m going to really miss this fabulous show which I looked forward to enjoying every week. I agree with Matt about the types of repetitious shows we viewers have crammed down our tv throats – Same old stuff. Betty was fun, smart, and refreshing. I hope we get to see the cast members in future projects! Good bye Betty et all. Sob sob.

  • jen_s

    I have loved this show from the beginning. Even when it went a little off the rails, I never missed an episode. I am going to miss it so much. I look forward to seeing all of these incredibly talented actors in their future projects. Bravo!

  • Joseph T

    aw, such a great show! it is going out in style!

  • HB

    I was fortunate enough to attend the fundraiser at Axelle on Monday evening. The paintings were terrific, and the cast members were warm and friendly. Their fictional characters: Matt, Justin, Hilda, Claire, Wilhelmina and Betty — have left an indelible print on our hearts. I am hopeful that we will see them in movies (How to Tame your Dragon – America), Theatre and TV again shortly. PS — Would LOVE a Betty Movie!! Great idea, Mark. Thank you again for the four terrific years. Love to Michael and Eric, too.

    • kayla

      go see michael urie in The Tempramentals! I saw it the day after i watched the finale, and it was great to be able to see him perform again so soon afterwards. He (and the rest of the cast) were fantastic!

  • Belle

    I got goosebumps reading this. Big sigh, Oh how I will miss you. I too stayed with the show went it went off course. I watched it faithfully on Thursdays and always felt bad that I never watched it live on Fridays (the ratings) but Saturday mornings eating breakfast on my DVR and Wednesdays @ 10pm. This show is not a 10pm show. It is an 8pm or 9pm. Oh well, I digress. Kiss Kiss Ugly Betty.

  • Mandy

    I am so going to miss this show. It was truly a gem!

  • Lynn Angel

    I am going to really miss this show, please bring it back..! It seems all that is out there is a bunch of reality, cops, murder, one CSI after another & hospital shows.
    I like a really refreshing show like Ugly Betty, that the whole family can watch, the show warmed our hearts and gave us a laugh.
    BRING IT BACK…..PLEASE..!!!!

  • paige

    :-(

  • Tracy

    One of the finest shows on Television! I’m going to miss it horribly and I hate to see it go. Thanks to all the cast!

  • Veronica

    I am going to miss Ugly Betty so much.

  • Hilary

    okay that made me tear up! Time for an Ugly Betty MOVIE.

    • Jeneva

      I completely agree, tell us more about Betty and Daniel in London. I think they could have feelings for each other that’s why it was so hard for both of them to say good-bye! Daniel traveling to London definitely means that he loves her! :D

  • Melinda65

    One of the parts that made me tear up the most was when Betty hugged Marc and he rested his head on hers. (I’m tearing up writing about it!) I love the way that Marc and Amanda have grown and become three-dimensional, while still retaining their snark and humor. I’m going to miss the show so much.

  • Jessica

    This is the only show I have watched on network TV since before it came out. I am so sad that it’s over, but I guess everything has to end. I will miss it enormously.

  • metty

    And Matt appeared in the finale??? please tell me! I’m in Japan!

    • gatorwk

      No, Matt did not appear and was not directly mentioned either. However, the ending for Betty is “open ended” so that, if they do a movie, Matt certainly could be in it-back from Africa and ready to make a difference with Betty (and, yes, if not already obvious I am a Metty fan).

      • metty

        Thank you…
        I’m so disappointed.
        It’s ridiculous!!!
        and it’s not fair for Metty fans.
        Remember the words Matt gave her when he left?
        She must wait for him. She should be loyal to him.

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