One of the biggest fixtures in Latin entertainment production is Ugly Betty. The story resonates amongst the Latin community as genuine, relatable and funny.
Telemundo brought back another version of Ugly Betty as Betty en NY or Betty in NY. In this show, it introduces Beatriz “Betty” Aurora Rincon, who takes a job at V&M Fashion as a secretary to the company’s president. She goes after her dreams by overcoming prejudices in a world where image is everything. She is humiliated on a daily basis for lacking in style, but she is more willing to not be defeated in the ruthless war of appearances. She has plan for personal growth and help Betty find her true love.
The show aired earlier this year on Telemundo and just completed its successful season with 123 episodes. The show stars Elyfer Torres, Erick Elias, Sabrina Seara and Aaron Diaz.
LRM Online caught up with actress Elyfer Torres, who played the titular character Betty on the show and a fast-rising star in the Latin entertainment industry. She played Claire in the second season of La Piloto and she was part of the cast of El Secreto de Selena.
For full episodes of Betty in NY, visit http://now.telemundo.com/betty-en-ny.
Read our exclusive interview below.
LRM: We know Betty. I mean there’s the reboots and so forth. Tell us about your Betty, Betty Rincon.
Elyfer Torres: I didn’t want to watch any of the other versions that have been done before, because I wanted to bring something new to the table. Something authentic. They are authentic, of course. Your mind can betray you and then it is like a repeat or something. I’m not going to watch anything so I can do something new. This Betty, she’s super lovely. She is super, super smart. I don’t think she has problems. The only problem is she don’t believe in herself. Since she doesn’t believe in herself, she let people treat her like she’s not human. This is story about a woman who starting to know who she is and to grow. Until then, she is the person that she is right now. She’s not going to let anyone tell her how she should look or how she should be. In the first part of the story, she used to do it. She used to be with others, what people think of her and now she’s just her.
LRM: What do you think makes this one, this Betty from New York different from the other Bettys? I know you said you haven’t or didn’t watch them.
Elyfer Torres: Yeah.
LRM: What do you feel makes it different versus to the previous ones?
Elyfer Torres: I think everything. First of all, we had like 20 years of difference. The first version was made 20 years ago. I was two years old. Technology changed a lot. Even bullying had changed a lot. We used a lot of technology like Facebook, Instagram and other social media. It’s what that changes means and, and even the way of thinking changes. This generation has a way of thinking is more open-minded than it used to be. That changes everything and we added more stories to the original one. There is the Peloton. She has a the group of friends and they are amazing. They have different stories than the original one or different versions that used to not have. We gave more space to those stories and I think that’s what makes us different.
LRM: Well, you got into the stuff I was going to ask you about. This is actually the first Betty I’m watching. One of the things like you’ve mentioned the Peloton. It does branch out into different life platforms, where anybody can relate to one story or another.
Elyfer Torres: Exactly! That’s an another amazing thing about this Betty. It is that you can relate with any character. You can be Betty. It could be Sophia. Or anyone you can relate to any character, because we touch really human things, normal things. I was seeing another interview that you can connect, because at least once we have all been Betty. We have all felt not enough or not beautiful enough for something. If you felt that at least once you can connect. That’s why I think that is the success of this story. That you can feel the same way and then you feel her as your friend.
LRM: Yeah, there’s a little Betty inside all of us.
Elyfer Torres: Exactly! [Laughs]
LRM: We are just not so open to it. What was your experience in auditioning? I imagined being a different kind of role it wasn’t like if you had a blemish it wasn’t about trying to cover it up. But, to be more organic.
Elyfer Torres: Yes, yes! The casting process was beautiful. When I think about it makes me feel so happy. I did five different castings. Three audition tapes, two of them I filmed myself in my room. The first one was an improv in English. It was like, what am I going to say? I’m not sure. What do you think is going to connect with people? That’s the most important thing. Then I realized that when we are alone, it’s when we are our true selves. I decided to make Betty in her room doing a video diary talking about herself–like she’s alone. It was this super fun of Betty making fun of herself, which is one thing that I really appreciate about this character is that she makes fun of herself. Not in a bad way.
LRM: In a funny way with her best friend.
Elyfer Torres: Exactly. They enjoy being those nerds and they are not afraid of saying it. They feel bad because people make them feel bad. I showed that in that first video and they love it. These other two monologues that they sent me in Spanish. I have to go to Telemundo Mexico. I talked to the producers and director. There were like 300 actresses castling for this role. When they told me it was me, I cried of course for like 10 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Oh, my God. Really me?” I couldn’t believe it.
I’m super excited that I got the role, because I put a lot of effort in each casting. It was like she was a baby as she was growing. The first casting took 20 minutes, but the others I spent like ten hours filming the casting. My mom was like, “Come on! Why do you do so many times? I told her, because this has to be perfect. If it’s not perfect, they are not going to call me. I’m going to do it three days straight if it’s necessary, because that’s my job. Something that I really want. I wanted to get it. I did it ten hours filming the casting. I have to like it at least minimally. I shouldn’t put it out there if I don’t like it. That’s the right thing to do. That’s just me with my things. I’m a nerd. That makes me a nerd just like Betty but in my things.
LRM: You got the role and then I understand that you pretty much went under the radar. For about a year. How did you accomplish that? Because even with social media and everything. That’s a tough thing to do.
Elyfer Torres: It was super hard and Telemundo didn’t want anyone to know who was Betty. Nobody can know. It’s impossible. There’s social media. They said you can’t upload anything to social media. You have to delete every picture where you look pretty or where you look different then the character. I deleted everything in my social places. It was a little bit hard because you wanted to be yourself. I wanted to say that the person that is acting this beautiful character is me. I wasn’t able to do that until the transformation like a month ago or something.
It was hard. Now that I think about it–it was beautiful. I don’t think you get the chance to do that with another character. This one has this transformation process not just physically, but internally. It gives you that chance to do it. Of course, I use social media and I am a millennial. I was born with the phone. All the time, I wanted to use it and to share stuff, but I couldn’t. It helped me to be focused on the character more than if I were not. I liked the experience.
LRM: It definitely built up that , including me as a viewer. Who is she? I would see you would be presented in Telemundo morning show Un Nueveo Dia. I’d watch to see who is she. You were always in character. You guys did great!
Elyfer Torres: Yea, it was a great strategy. I think that’s why they did it.
LRM: It sold!
Elyfer Torres: Yeah! And that’s why it went great. Of course, it was well done in every single thing. The strategy was so amazing that they decided to do that. In interviews, they would treat me like Betty. They would be like, “Hey! How’s it going in V&M?” They talked to Betty and not to me. What’s going on in your life, Betty? People can be like is she real? There were some times like people used to hit me up like, “Hey! You’re like Betty in your real life? Betty, you exist?” Little kids couldn’t understand. We wanted to keep that TV magic. They used to say that all the time and I guess it worked.
LRM: Yeah, for sure. Can we discuss a little about being the voice of the intro song? How exciting is that? I like watching the end where it’s just like you just like singing to the side. I think that is the signature.
Elyfer Torres: Super Excited! Yeah, I love that part. Filming that thing, like the intro was super fun, because I was just me. Well, not exactly me. Betty is dancing, singing, throwing at the camera and then having the opportunity to sing the love song for Betty and Armando. It was great. They asked me first, “Hey, can you sing?” I was like–yeah. They asked again–can you? Right now? You mean right now? Isang a song that I don’t remember. Then they told me that they wanted me to sing a song for the show. It’s a good idea. I am like it’s an amazing idea. I’m the singer of that song. I’m super excited, because it was really beautiful. Now it’s like everywhere.
LRM: It’s catchy.
Elyfer Torres: Yeah. And it catches on. You can relate to!
LRM: Yeah! To finalize, there something I can share, I read you’re in El Secreto de Selana. (The Secret of Selena). It hasn’t aired here yet.
Elyfer Torres: Yes, I will be in El Secreto de Selena. It will be very, very soon. I don’t know when it’s going to be out to be honest. I’m just a little character. It is not like Betty, because I worked on that show before Betty. My character is Gabriella Contreras. She’s a impersonator of Selena. The most famous one. It was so fun doing it, because it was like acting, under acting. Gabriela impersonates Selena. It was like acting like Gabriela and her acting like Selena.
LRM: That’s a challenge.
Elyfer Torres: It was so good. I enjoyed it. It was a fun part. You can see me with a whole different look. Not like I am, or like Betty is in the show or before. Way different.
LRM: We look forward to seeing you in Selena for sure.
Elyfer Torres: Thank you so much!
Source: LRM Online Exclusive