By Kiko Martinez
As the lead actress on the popular telenovela “La fea más bella,” the Spanish version of what American audiences know as “Ugly Betty,” Angélica Vale has found happiness playing the role of Leticia Padilla Solís. Lety is an intelligent and homely-looking young woman who works as an executive assistant at a prestigious media production firm.
According to the 2006 Nielsen ratings, “La fea más bella” was the most-watched show on Univision. Its finale drew in a record 7.4 million viewers. Despite its popularity, Vale believes there is still an audience out there that has not had the opportunity to experience “Fea” during its yearlong run. With the show recently coming to DVD in February, she hopes the show will find a new audience and continue to teach young girls that beauty is only skin-deep.
“I’m really excited about [Fea] going into another market,” Vale, 32, said during a phone interview. “It would be great if it reached more people who haven’t seen it yet.”
Vale, who was born in Mexico City, got her start in acting as a child. One of her first roles was at the age of six in the 1981 film “El gran triunfo” alongside Mexican singer Rigo Tovar. From there she went on to star in a number of telenovelas, including “El Secreto de Alejandra,” “Soñadoras,” and “Las vívas del amor.” As a natural-born comedian, Vale was able to show of her talent as a comedian in the Spanish-language show “La Parodia” from 2002 to 2005. The following year, she landed the lead role in “Fea,” a remake of a popular Colombian sitcom. As Lety, Vale saw her character transform over the course of an entire year.
“I think Lety always new that her beauty was inside her,” Vale said. “She started looking pretty to the people. They didn’t think she was ugly anymore. I think Americans [with “Ugly Betty”] are experiencing something like that, too.”
Last year, Vale was given a cameo role in “Ugly Betty,” which stars America Ferrera as a unattractive personal assistant working at a fashion magazine. Although she says the experience was a positive one, she doesn’t think she could ever make a move from Mexico to the U.S. to pursue an acting career.
“I admire people who want the American dream, but it’s tough,” Vale said. “I don’t think I could do it. My soap opera was a hit. It changed people’s lives here and I am happy for that.”