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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at York U chapter.

I first watched Ugly Betty a couple of years ago, thanks to my brother who told me about it when I was having my usual crisis of picking something from my never-ending watchlist. Now, this one was not on my watchlist. Having already seen some great shows at the time, I was initially hesitant to watch Ugly Betty because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to connect to a now 17-year-old show. I was wrong…the pilot episode of Ugly Betty absolutely captivated me into its world.

Just to give an overview of the show, Ugly Betty is about Betty Suarez, a young Mexican-American aspiring writer from Queens, New York City. Betty lands a job as an assistant to Daniel Meade, the editor-in-chief of a prestigious fashion Magazine; Mode. She is amiable and charismatic but is constantly ridiculed for her unusual fashion sense and her adult braces. The four seasons of the show narrate Betty’s efforts to build her place in the glamorous yet notorious world of fashion and maintain a stabilized career and personal life.

I can go on and on about what I loved about the show, but it was mainly the storytelling. I truly felt like the themes discussed were groundbreaking for its time. There are elements in the show like the title and the portrayal of a few scenarios (don’t want to spoil it) that I saw being problematic. However, I also kept in mind that this is a show was made in 2006, when the world was much different than it is today.

The main theme of the show is that what matters is what’s inside – the mind and heart. What I admired the most about Betty was that even though she was constantly made fun of, she didn’t change herself and stayed with what she felt comfortable in. Moreover, she doesn’t win over the people around her with her wardrobe, but with her personality and intelligence. Despite many inconsiderate attitudes towards her, Betty does not sway toward antagonism and instead stays with her sweet nature and principles.

With this theme comes the topic of beauty standards, and the show asks a question still relevant today: do braces, dark spots or pimples make you any less beautiful than those who are toned, perfectly waxed, and wearing makeup?

As mentioned earlier, throughout the show, Betty goes through ups and downs personally and professionally. She works hard to try to advance in her career, take care of her family, and find love, but they don’t always go according to her plan. She faces delays and losses but she always looks on the bright side. I love how the show conveyed the value in staying optimistic.

Betty is not the only one who struggles for acceptance. In fact, all of the central characters are shown to have problems of their own. There are representations of various social groups and their obstacles are highlighted through topics like nepotism vs meritocracy, family vs career, immigration, parenthood, and coming out of the closet.

Okay, now I have to take this chance to fangirl about Betty and Daniel! Their relationship is one of the best pairings I have seen on screen. You might expect a “She’s All That” kind of love story right from the first episode, but it does not happen that way. Betty and Daniel become best friends who guide each other in their personal and professional lives, but both of them go through their own love stories while their platonic relationship takes its time to come to its conclusion.

I can’t say what my favorite scene is because the show retains its charm from start to end without a dull moment. However, the last two episodes of the series still has me in happy tears. While I wish they made one more season of the show, at the same time, I am satisfied with the way things turned out for everyone in the end.

Sarah Nasir is a writer for Her Campus at York U. She is doing her undergraduate in Communication and Media Studies at York University. She was previously a writer for the International Blind Sports Federation under the United Nations Online Volunteer Program, where she covered the sport of blind football through her stories of players from international teams, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Sarah spends her free time playing badminton and reading romance and thrillers. She also loves watching movies and TV shows, particularly K-dramas and C-dramas.