Vanessa Williams Explains Why Ugly Betty Was “Ahead of Its Time”

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Ugly Betty alum Vanessa Williams explained how the cast stays in touch, the show's impact and if she'd ever like to get the entire gang back together.

By Mike Vulpo, Daniel Trainor Dec 02, 2022 9:22 PMTags
Watch: See America Ferrera & Vanessa Williams' Ugly Betty Reunion

It might be time for a MODE magazine re-issue.

Vanessa Williams, who played former MODE creative director Wilhelmina Slater on all four seasons of Ugly Betty, exclusively told E! News that the cast of the beloved sitcom "would work with each other in a heartbeat if we could."

Despite Ugly Betty's run coming to an end in 2010, Vanessa said she and the cast have remained tight in the decade-plus since the show went off the air.

"We truly love each other," Vanessa said. "It's genuine there and you can tell that. We keep in touch with each other. We miss each other."

It's not just lip service, either.

America Ferrera, who played the titular Betty, and Michael Urie, who played Wilhelmina's assistant Marc, reunited with Vanessa on Nov. 23. "We did a dinner together," Vanessa said about meet-up, "and it was just great catching up and just loving each other and it's rare."

Vanessa also revealed she's routinely in touch with Becki Newton, who played MODE receptionist Amanda Tanen. "She's having her fourth child," Vanessa said, "and every time she was with child or just showing, she'd send me a picture and I'd say, ‘Oh my gosh. You're catching up with me because I have four kids.'"

Ugly Betty Cast Then and Now

In reflecting back on Ugly Betty's impact, Vanessa argued that the show broke down barriers before many of the show's contemporaries even considered it.

"I think Ugly Betty was ahead of its time," she said. "I mean, I look back and Rebecca Romijn playing a trans person in 2006 before it was even in pop culture. Mark Indelicato coming out and having parents that accepted him and grandparents that accepted him. We touched on so many things."

Richard Cartwright/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

While we fantasize about an Ugly Betty reboot, you can check out Vanessa in 54 Below's Diamond Series from Dec. 13 to 18 in New York City. 

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