Academy Award® Nominee America Ferrera to Receive USC School of Dramatic Arts’ Multihyphenate Award

Image of America Ferrera

Photo by Karwai Tang

The USC School of Dramatic Arts is thrilled to announce that the recipient of its second annual Multihyphenate Award is Academy Award® -nominated and Emmy® -, Golden Globe®- and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor, director and producer, America Ferrera. The event will take place at 11:00 am PT on Sunday, February 11 in USC’s Bing Theatre and is exclusively open to current students of the University of Southern California.

Ferrera recently garnered a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role in 2023’s blockbuster Barbie, adding another remarkable achievement to her illustrious career. A proud USC alumnus, Ferrera’s influence spans various realms of the entertainment industry, including authoring New York Times Best Seller American Like Me, directing episodes of and executive producing Netflix’s hit Latinx dramedy, Gentefied, as well as Superstore. A longtime activist, Ferrera co-founded HARNESS, a community of artists, influencers and grassroots leaders leveraging art and storytelling to power change and create a more equitable world. She also launched the digital lifestyle community, Poderistas, in 2020 alongside nine other prominent activists, leaders, and businesswomen, including Eva Longoria Bastón and Christy Haubegger.  

The Mulithyphenate Award celebrates artists whose career embraces versatility and innovation in the multifaceted landscape of the entertainment world. Last year Mindy Kaling, a Tony-winning producer, Emmy-nominated writer and actor, and New York Times best-selling author was honored with the inaugural award. It marked the commencement of the School of Dramatic Arts’ Multihyphenate Masterclass Series that has included Colman Domingo and Judith Light, as well as industry professionals including The Black List founder Franklin Leonard, producer Paula Wagner, Lorrie Bartlett and Chris Andrews from Creative Artists Agency, casting director Cathy Sandrich, and more.

“America Ferrera’s remarkable journey in the entertainment industry is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling,” said Dr. Emily Roxworthy, Dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. “As the recipient of the Multihyphenate Award, America embodies the spirit of innovation and resilience that we aim to instill in our students. Her impact goes beyond the screen, inspiring the next generation of storytellers to embrace diversity, creativity, and the limitless possibilities within the realm of dramatic arts.”

The Multihyphenate Award event will feature a Q&A session moderated by the head of USC’s Dramatic Writing program Luis Alfaro, a distinguished Chicano playwright (Electricidad, Oedipus El Rey, Mojada) and associate professor. Alfaro, a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant,” brings a wealth of experience to the discussion, adding an enriching layer to the conversation. The discussion will cover Ferrera’s multifaceted career and the art of being a multihyphenate artist. 

“I’m honored to receive the Multihyphenate Award,” said Ferrera. “Since my days at USC I have had the privilege to explore my many passions and interests. I’ve created my own path by staying true to all the different things I care about and love doing. We do not need to limit our creative lives to neat job titles. I hope students feel inspired to explore the diverse facets within themselves in order to find their own unique paths.”

Ferrera’s extensive acting credits include iconic roles in TV and film, such as Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Superstore, and Dumb Money, as well as on stage in Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, and as Roxie Hart in the West End production of the hit musical, Chicago. Most recently, she achieved critical acclaim for her role in Greta Gerwig’s record-breaking film, Barbie, earning her a Critics Choice SeeHer Award and SAG Award for ensemble cast. 

Dean Roxworthy further emphasized the School of Dramatic Arts’ commitment to providing a comprehensive education to USC’s talented students, highlighting the Multihyphenate Masterclass Series’ pivotal role in developing creative professionals prepared for the ever-evolving entertainment industry. The Multihyphenate Masterclass Series will continue throughout the academic year, offering students insights into various aspects of the industry, including an upcoming masterclass focused on writing for the screen and stage. This series aims to empower students with the skills and knowledge needed to sustain careers as working artists in today’s multifaceted entertainment landscape.