ColombiaOne.comCulture"Ugly Betty": The Colombian Telenovela That Conquered the World

“Ugly Betty”: The Colombian Telenovela That Conquered the World


I am Betty the Ugly One Colombian telenovela
“I am Betty, the Ugly One” stars Ana Maria Orozco and Jorge Enrique Abello.Credit: RCN Television

‘Ugly Betty,’ originally “I am Betty, the Ugly One,” is a Colombian telenovela that has left an indelible mark on the history of television worldwide. This production, created by RCN Televisión and written by Fernando Gaitan, has become a cultural phenomenon and a true icon of Colombian television. Its legacy endures and continues to capture hearts even decades after its premiere.

“I am Betty, the Ugly One” premiered on October 25, 1999, and concluded on May 8, 2001, but its influence still lives on in the hearts of viewers. The telenovela was included in the Guinness World Records as the “most successful telenovela in the history of television,” and rightfully so.

The plot revolves around Beatriz Aurora Pinzon Solano, affectionately called Betty. Betty is an intelligent woman but considered unattractive by conventional standards of beauty. She works at Ecomoda, a fashion company, where she must face constant contempt and insults from her colleagues, especially Patricia Fernandez, Hugo Lombardi, and Marcela Valencia.

The global impact of Ugly Betty

The popularity of “I am Betty, the Ugly One” was not limited to Colombia. The telenovela became an international phenomenon and aired in over 180 countries, dubbed into 25 different languages. This global reach makes it one of the most influential productions in the history of television.

Furthermore, Betty’s story has been adapted in at least 28 versions in different parts of the world, making it the telenovela with the most adaptations to date. The universality of the plot, centered on themes of love, acceptance, and personal growth, has resonated with audiences worldwide.

I am Betty the Ugly One Colombian telenovela
“Ugly Betty” and its different versions (Colombian, American and Mexican). Credit: RCN Television

Triumphant return to the screen

The popularity of “I am Betty, the Ugly One” has remained alive over the years, and in 2019, the telenovela had an exciting comeback on Netflix. With all its 335 episodes available on-demand, the audience could relive Betty’s story and her transformation into a confident and successful woman.

The return of “I am Betty, the Ugly One” through Netflix generated renewed enthusiasm for the story and characters, and the telenovela quickly became one of the most-watched programs in Latin America on the streaming platform. Audiences, both lifelong fans and new generations, fell in love again with Betty’s adventures and challenges.

However, in July 2022, Netflix removed the telenovela from its catalog due to licensing issues. But Betty’s story didn’t end there. The telenovela found a new home on Prime Video, where viewers can still enjoy all its episodes and relive the magic of this iconic Colombian production.

The legacy of Ugly Betty

“I am Betty, the Ugly One” is not just a successful telenovela; it is a fundamental part of Colombia’s cultural heritage and an example of how a well-told story can transcend borders and generations. Betty’s story continues to inspire people to embrace their uniqueness, strive for their dreams, and believe in the power of personal transformation. The telenovela has left an indelible mark on the history of television and in the hearts of its fans worldwide.

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