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America Ferrera: 'I don't stress about my appearance anymore'

America Ferrera has stopped putting so much emphasis on her looks.

The Ugly Betty star's appearance played a huge role in her life as a young girl but, as she grew older, she learned she didn't need to place so much importance on looking good all the time.

"I grew up believing a lot of things about myself that I had to unlearn - things that pertain to being a good woman, things about my weight or height," she tells Redbook magazine. "As women, you're taught that your value is all about your appearance, not your ideas and your tenacity and your courage and your bravery and your adventurous spirit. Look, I love getting dressed up and looking beautiful. But that's one tiny piece of me."

The 32-year-old has found her stride in Hollywood, but she reveals she used to worry about landing roles and the anxiety spilled over into her personal life.

"When I was younger, I felt like everything was make or break," she says. "In my career and my relationships, there was a right way or a wrong way - and I had to fit into the right box. I've let go of those narrow definitions and found a balance."

"My successes and my failures don't have to have this enormous weight on them; they can just be mine," she continues. "Whatever moves you forward, focus on it. Whatever handicaps you or paralyses you, that's the thing to get rid of."

And she now wants to shift her focus to taking on new ventures in Hollywood.

"We talk about a lot of things we want to see more women doing," she adds. "We want more women producers, more women writers, more women directors - and you can only say that so many times before you say, 'I'm a woman. What's stopping me from doing this?'"

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