in conversation with Anjelah Johnson
American Like Me:
Reflections on Life Between Cultures
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$50 Reserved Section Seat + Book
$40 General Admission Seat + Book
$20 General Admission Section Seat (on sale Sep. 4)
From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.
America Ferrera is an award-winning actress, producer, director and activist. Ferrera is best known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty, for which she won Golden Globe, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, ALMA, and Imagen Awards. She produces and stars in the acclaimed NBC workplace comedy, Superstore, currently in its fourth season. In 2016 Ferrera cofounded HARNESS, an organization connecting storytellers and activists to amplify the cultural narrative around social justice. She speaks throughout the country as an advocate for human and civil rights and was the opening speaker at the monumental Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.
America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.
Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.
Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.
Anjelah Johnson-Reyes was born and raised in San Jose, California and is of Mexican and Native American descent. She started her career as a professional cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders and as an Oakland Raiderette, she was named Rookie of the Year and even performed in Super Bowl XXXVII. She became an internet sensation with her viral video, “Nail Salon” which led to many stand up, television and film opportunities. She joined the cast of “MADtv” as a series regular, which spawned another internet sensation, “Bon Qui Qui.” This original character, a disgruntled fast food employee with no filter, has been enjoyed, viewed and replicated by over 65 million people worldwide. After recording and releasing 3 songs and 2 music videos as Bon Qui Qui, Anjelah signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records to release a full album titled, “Gold Plated Dreams”, which she’s toured twice selling out both times. Bon Qui Qui teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics for her third music video “This Is How We Do It”. After the success of her debut album, Bon Qui Qui released a Christmas EP titled “Merry Hoodmas”. Anjelah has appeared in multiple ads & commercials including campaigns for Sprint, Visa, Snickers, Verizon, All-State, K-Swiss, Dryers Ice Cream and was the spokesperson for a Texas based restaurant chain, Taco Cabana. Anjelah has also guest starred on shows such as The Shield, Ugly Betty, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and others all while touring with her stand up comedy. In June 2009 Anjelah recorded her first one-hour special for Comedy Central and Warner Bros. Records titled, “That’s How We Do It.” Her second one-hour special, The Homecoming Show, aired on NUVOtv in July of 2013. In 2014 Anjelah recorded her third hour special, “Not Fancy” which is a Netflix original. In 2017 she filmed her fourth hour special Mahalo & Goodnight in Honolulu, Hawaii. It premiered on the Epix channel and is now available on Hulu. Johnson has starred in such films as OUR FAMILY WEDDING, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL, ENOUGH SAID, THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE and the film MOM’S NIGHT OUT which not only features Anjelah but also her husband, musician Manwell Reyes of the musical duo Panda$.