America Ferrera Champions Latinx Storytelling, Industry Unity at 2020 Impact Awards

America Ferrera - NHMC Impact Awards - H - 2020
JC Olivera/Getty Images for National Hispanic Media Coalition

Speaking at the National Hispanic Media Coalition's annual event, the actress said, “For a very long time I felt very isolated and alone as a Latina in this industry."

Upon receiving an honor at the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s 23rd annual Impact Awards, America Ferrera said she believes Latinx talent and executives are no longer competing for a slice of the pie. 

"We are baking and serving up a whole bunch of tres leches," the Superstore and Gentefied actress said at the Friday night event held at the Beverly Wilshire. "We get to do it together and we get to invite our allies in this industry and audience from every walk of life to cry and celebrate with us."

Ferrera, who made a surprise exit from NBC's Superstore on Friday, was one of the eight honorees at the yearly event. The annual ceremony aims to celebrate and acknowledge works by Latinx talent and the executives who provide them with more opportunities in entertainment. Justina Machado and Jacob Vargas hosted the evening.

The actress, who took home the outstanding series producer prize, acknowledged the generations of Latinx talent that have helped build the path for the stars of today’s Hollywood, including "personal hero" Lupe Ontiveros. Ferrera said thinking about the late actress prompts her to think about the talent that goes untapped; talent she hopes to spotlight as a producer.

"For a very long time I felt very isolated and alone as a Latina in this industry, I know many of us in this room have felt that way," she said. "But we can write a new mandate for Latinos in this industry."

Writing a new mandate is more than just a responsibility for Latinx talent and executives, but also for industry allies, especially those who may not from the community, Party of Five executive producer Amy Lippman told The Hollywood Reporter.

Lippman, whose series received the evening’s outstanding television award, said that she’s proud to facilitate getting more and more diverse stories in the mainstream, including the Freeform series.

"It is not my story and I see my role as being able to tell a story that is informed by people who have firsthand experience with this world and this experience," she said.

Also receiving honors at the annual ceremony was One Day at a Time star Isabella Gomez who spoke to THR about the family sitcom ahead of its fourth season. The actress, who received the outstanding series performance award, said that the time in between the show’s cancellation and finding its new home at Pop TV was an emotional roller coaster.

The star revealed that there were months where she and fellow co-stars felt hopeful, and others not so much. But once she witnessed fans fighting for the show, Gomez said it validated the work she does and the desire to see diverse stories.

National Hispanic Media Coalition president Brenda Castillo told THR that the annual event came out of the lack of recognition for Latinx creators and talent in more mainstream awards ceremonies, namely the Oscars. Proud to dub the Friday ceremony, "our Latino Oscars," Castillo said it didn’t make sense, given the literal space Hollywood takes up, that the Latinx community was constantly left out of the conversation.

But with titles, including In the Heights and Gentefied, receiving honors, Castillo declares: "This is our time."

Additional honorees at the 23rd annual NHMC Impact awards were Ann Sarnoff, Magnum P.I.’s Jay Hernandez, Dany Garcia, Ozzie Areu and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Other industry folk in attendance were Tanya Saracho, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Jeffrey Katzenberg.