Yo soy Betty, la fea

Yo soy Betty, la fea
Yo soy Betty, la Fea.jpg
Also known asBetty, la fea
Created byFernando Gaitán
Directed byMario Ribero Ferreira
Theme music composer
  • Francisco Canaro
  • Ivo Pellay
Opening theme"Se dice de mí" performed by Yolanda Rayo
Country of originColombia
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes169
Executive producer(s)María del Pilar Fernández
CinematographyAlirio Farfán
Editor(s)María Vásquez
Original networkRCN Televisión
Original release25 October 1999 (1999-10-25) – 8 May 2001 (2001-05-08)

Yo soy Betty, la fea ("I am Betty, the Ugly one") is a telenovela filmed in Colombia, written by Fernando Gaitán and was produced from 25 October 1999 to 8 May 2001 by the Colombian network RCN (Radio Cadena Nacional). More than a dozen versions of the telenovela have been made in other countries due to the popularity of the plot. In the United States, both the comedy-drama hit Ugly Betty and Televisa program La Fea Más Bella are based on the Colombian soap opera.

Betty, la Fea re-aired on Spanish-language U.S. network TeleFutura in January 2009. Eight years after the telenovela's original run, the highly anticipated return of the original version of Yo Soy Betty, La Fea delivered impressive ratings for the network, attracting over one million viewers, more than half a million of which were adults aged 18–49. In addition, the premiere episode doubled and in some cases nearly tripled its prior audience among all key demographics.

Due to the success of re-runs aired in the United States, in June 2009, Yo soy Betty, la fea re-aired in México on Canal de las Estrellas.

Betty, la fea is one of the world's most popular television shows and is considered the most famous Latin telenovela in history. It is the first telenovela to have been remade worldwide and has been regarded as bringing the telenovela to new levels of success.[1]


Taking place principally in Bogotá, Colombia, Betty La Fea is essentially a Cinderella comedy about the rise of poor, ugly Betty Pinzón and the fall of rich, handsome Armando Mendoza. Armando is a very incompetent playboy with a scheme to turn a huge profit as the new president of Eco Moda, a clothing manufacturing company. But his scheme is doomed for his faulty mathematics. Because Betty, his secretary (and economics wizard), is enamored with him, she helps Armando deceive the board of directors as he loses money and brings the company to ruin. The story has three movements: 1) Armando's foolish destruction of Eco Moda, 2) Betty's flight from the disgrace and her vacation in Cartagena where she is transformed to a beauty, and 3) Betty returned to Eco Moda, installed as new president. The structure is much like a classical symphony in three movements. The first is sonata-allegro, acted out with very fast velocity: the two themes being 1) the irrational idiocy of Armando vs the calm rationality of Betty while she fantasizes romance with Armando in her mind. The second is a slow short movement with much time spent showing parades and the like in Cartagena counterpoised vs. the degradation of disgraced Armando back in Bogotá, while Betty undergoes a transformation from ugly to beautiful. The third is the stabilization of Eco Moda under Betty's presidency ending with the marriage of Betty and Armando with the birth of their baby.

Beatriz Aurora Pinzón Solano, (Betty), is an ugly but brilliant economist working as a secretary at a Colombian fashion empire, EcoModa. Betty constantly faces the scorn of Eco Moda's attractive manager-owners but proves herself indispensable to Eco Moda's new president, Armando Mendoza. She becomes Armando's accomplice in a clandestine scheme to save Eco Moda from financial ruin, part of which scheme is that Armando should seduce Betty while engaged to Marcela, an executive and stock holder of the company. But while Armando proceeds cynically to seduce a woman who is physically repugnant to him (Betty), he becomes enamored of him, and they fornicate.

Though Betty has a master's degree in finance and graduated at the top of her class, she has always been unable to secure a job interview, because, she claims, her ugly photograph ruins her otherwise impressive résumé. After searching unsuccessfully for a job to match her education and experience, she applies for a position as the secretary to the president of Eco Moda, a highly successful, trendy fashion manufacturer/retailer founded by two families, the Mendozas and the Valencias. She sends her résumé to Eco Moda without a photograph, thus securing an interview.

Armando Mendoza, who is Eco Moda's new president, is the handsome and stupid (though supposedly educated) son of the company's retiring co-founder Roberto Mendoza. He is engaged to Marcela Valencia (because he needs her vote to be president). Marcela is an Eco Moda executive and daughter of the deceased co-founder, Señor Valencia. Armando is in search of a new secretary and interviews both Betty and Marcela's best friend, named Patricia Fernández for the same position. He is reluctant to hire Patricia because he knows that Marcela wants her there to spy on him, given his reputation as a womanizer. Armando then interviews Betty. While he notices her "ugliness", he likes the idea that she is well-educated in economics. In order to please Marcela, Armando decides to hire as his new secretaries both Betty, the ugly but brilliant economist, and the very attractive but air-headed Patricia.

Since Eco Moda is a fashion company that is primarily concerned with image and beauty, Patricia is seated in the lobby while Betty is seated in a large storage closet located in Armando's office, to not be shown to the public. Nevertheless, Betty continues to prove herself invaluable as she maneuvers effortlessly in the business and finance milieu, earning respect among industry insiders and the secretaries who would become her close friends, lately called El cuartel de las feas (The club of the ugly women). Betty is almost immediately enamored of love with Armando, but keeps her feelings a secret as she fantasizes about a relationship with him. She is thrilled to hear Armando say something like, "You are the woman that I need".

Along the way, Eco Moda falls from Armando's incompetent schemes that cause the company to lose millions of dollars, therefore putting the company into financial ruin. Out of loyalty, and love, to Armando, she helps him launch a new business in her name, which can lend money to Eco Modo and then put an embargo on the company to prevent it's creditors from foreclosing it and seizing it if Eco Modo fails. The business plan sets up a legal company named Terra Moda, legally owned by Betty. Terra Moda prevents the banks from taking over Eco Moda, because Terra Moda forecloses on Eco Modo before the other creditors. Once the summer fashion line is released, Eco Moda will be secure in their finances, and Terra Moda can be dissolved. However, Armando asks Betty for the second time to cook the books of the company in order to deceive the board by hiding it's ruined status, so he may remain in the presidency. Betty reluctantly agrees to help him with this fraud and asks her best friend, Nicolas Mora, to go along with it. Eco Moda's vice president (and Armando's best friend) Mario Calderon is the only other person at the company who knows about the business plan. However, because of how the plan works, Eco Moda has been taken over by legal process by Terra Moda, setting up Betty as the virtual owner. Mario is concerned that Betty plans to keep the company to herself after they suspect she is involved in a romantic relationship with her best friend (Nicolas Mora). He convinces Armando to make her fall in love with him for security. Armando is sure that Betty could never be so devious, but after hearing rumors about the supposedly relationship between Betty and Nicolas, he begins to worry that they will stay with the company and all its fortune. He takes Mario's advice and starts to seduce Betty, even though he is disgusted by the idea. Once the company is back in Armando's hands, he will break up with Betty and fire her.

As the weeks pass by, Betty falls more in love with Armando. In turn, Armando starts seeing past the "ugliness" and looks at the beautiful person that Betty is inside. He genuinely begins to fall in love with her, but keeps his feelings a secret from Mario, who constantly teases him about having to kiss the ugly girl. A couple of days before the budget meeting, Betty discovers a letter from Mario to Armando in a blue gift bag, describing details about the deception that is all disguised with chocolates and other things included in the bag. When the bag accidentally falls into her hands, the very curious Betty accidentally discovers the plan and learns of the deception. Not knowing all to react, Betty falls into a deep depression and silently cries in agony. A heart broken Betty is then discovered by a Beauty Pageant Cecilia Bolocco(who plays as herself), and tries to care for her. She is refused by Betty's sudden hate and envy for beautiful women. After insisting on helping her, Betty opens up and the two of them have a heart to heart conversation. After Cecilia leaves, Betty begins to have hope that the deception is nothing more than a joke after remembering the wonderful moments that she had with Armando. She then makes photocopies of the letter, and asks the secretaries to return the gift bag as if it was never found.

When Armando receives a call from Mario, and he retrieves the gift bag, it is confirmed that the deception is indeed not a joke, and Betty wails silently in agony. She is devastated at how Armando could be so cruel and play with her feelings, but first decides to resign from Eco-Moda, but after a lot of thinking, she decides to play along with Armando's game. Betty first makes Armando believe she is losing feelings for him and falling in love with her childhood friend Nicholas. She begins to torment Armando by spending Eco Moda's money on a luxury car and fancy restaurants and then by spending more time with Nicholas, thus making Armando furiously jealous. After a few days of torment, tears, and fist fights (Nicholas and Armando), Betty realizes she is only making her pain worse by playing along with the game and decides to end it.

She exposes the truth of the secret business plan to his family at the meeting by presenting the real balance sheet and not the fake one. At that moment, Armando and Mario realize that she has known about their vicious plan the entire time. The families (who are also stockholders) are informed that Eco Moda is in financial ruin and that Betty is its new owner. However, Betty reveals that Terra Moda was only set up to prevent Eco Moda from going bankrupt and that she is handing back full ownership to the stockholders. Roberto Mendoza chastises Betty on her involvement in such a scheme, knowing her to be an honest woman, and she is banned from the building. Before she leaves, Armando confronts her, only to find out how much Betty was humiliated by his deception. He tries to confess his now true feelings for her, but she refuses to listen. As Betty leaves the building, Marcela suspects her as a thief and demands to know what she is hiding inside a black trash bag where she has been keeping all the fake love letters and gifts. Betty has no choice but to reveal the affair between her and Armando. Marcela is devastated and shocked but was told by Betty that their relationship was nothing more than a cruel plan to make sure she doesn't get away with the company. Marcela cancels the wedding and breaks up with Armando. Everyone, including his family, disowns him.

Hurt and heartbroken, Betty immediately takes a job as the assistant to a fashion icon who is in charge of the Miss Colombia Pageant. She runs to the airport to catch a flight to Cartagena. She decides to confide the whole truth to her new boss, Catalina Angel, who has also been her guardian angel and close friend throughout her hard times in Eco Moda.

Armando is desperate to find Betty, but cannot. He must also deal with the fallout of the business situation Eco Moda is now in. Armando is fired and his father comes out of retirement to take over the presidential duties. The attorney realizes that Betty did not correctly turn over the business back to the stockholders, therefore Betty and Terra Moda are still the rightful owners of the company, thus preventing the bank from seizing control. Knowing that the only way to save the company is to continue with the "business plan" until after the summer fashion line, the stockholders have no choice but to beg Betty to come back and run the company. The only problem is that they can't find her.

Meanwhile, Betty is surrounded by all the beautiful pageant ladies and has become fast friends with a gorgeous French photographer (Michel) who would later find interest in her. Catalina helps Betty come out of her shell and slowly helps Betty shed some of her ugliness. First she convinces Betty to accept an advance on her salary so that she can buy clothes that complement her figure better. The next day she takes Betty to a hair stylist and asks them to give her a more modern cut. A few days later she is taken back to the hair stylist to have her unibrow and stache waxed out and she is fixed with make up. Catalina "accidentally" breaks her nerdy glasses and the new pair is much more suited to her face. It seems that Betty has shed her ugliness overnight and looks quite beautiful. But then gets a call from her father saying that she needs to return to finish some business with EcoModa. Reluctantly, she returns home after finishing her work in Cartagena.

When she walks into Eco Moda, nobody recognizes her. Everyone is quite shocked at her transformation, for example Patricia passing rumors to Marcela ("Marcela! I hate her! She spent Eco Moda's money in facial surgery!"). Thinking that Betty is still spending the company's money after purchasing a Mercedes-Benz (which is the luxury car like the one Patricia had, before it was repossessed and towed away from Patricia), and for the fancy restaurants. Roberto tells Betty about the critical financial situation they are in and asks Betty to help him save the company from going bankrupt. Although hesitant about working at Eco Moda once again, Betty agrees, feeling some unfortunate responsibility as to why they are in that situation. She is to be the new president of Eco Moda until the company can be financially stable again.

Months later, the new fashion line is a great success thanks to Betty's business savvy and her idea of modeling her friends (the club of the ugly women) instead of the usual, beautiful models. Although Betty appears to be dating Michel, who came to visit her from Cartagena, she is still in love with Armando but does not believe him at all when he confesses his feelings for her. Michel offers Betty to move to Cartagena with her family to work for a chain of restaurants and start a new life once she finishes her job in EcoModa. She is unsure whether to take the offer at first, but later accepts it.

Betty tells her friends she is leaving Bogotá and they are all devastated by the news. In fact, she decides to leave earlier than planned in order to forget Armando forever, and by making the club of ugly women photocopy, then hand out a letter to every member of the Board Of Directors, about her resignation from Eco Moda. This puts the company back in danger because it is not yet stable. In order to prevent this, Armando decides to move far away so that Betty can stay and continue as president, without him (considered a nuisance) around. Betty's friends try convincing her to stay, truly believing that Armando has changed, but she refuses to stay and give him a chance. This means that the presidential role would go to Daniel Valencia, another executive and stockholder, who is also Marcela's brother, and Betty and Armando's rude enemy. He would sell the company and save whatever is left of it, therefore causing hundreds of people to be unemployed. When Marcela hears about this, she decides to swallow her pride and resentment and tells Betty the truth about everything that happened when she left for Cartagena, when she talked to Margarita (Armando's mother), and convinced her to not support Daniel as the new president, for fear of liquidating the company. Because of this, Betty realizes that Armando is truly a changed man, and she stops him from leaving. They both stay and run the company together and after a few months, the two eventually marry. But Armando never recovers his leadership role over Eco Moda.

The final scene shows everyone staring at Betty and Armando's new-born daughter, who possibly resembles Betty when she was first born.

Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Yo soy Betty, la fea
interlingua: Betty La Fea
italiano: Betty la fea
Bahasa Melayu: Yo soy Betty, la fea
polski: Brzydula
српски / srpski: Ружна Бети
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Yo soy Betty, la fea
українська: Я — негарна Бетті