5 Lessons We Learned from Hilda

More than mere comic relief, Hilda was one of Ugly Betty’s most complex, engaging characters—and so much more than the sum of her sexy, bejeweled parts.

1. Acceptance: Though the Suarez family never officially outed Justin, Hilda’s son was, well, not exactly into football and chicks. Rather than react with an “¡Ay, Dios mío, líbranos!” Hilda didn’t judge: “He is comfortable with who he is, and so am I,” she once told his dad. She helped Justin apply for performing arts school, and when she found out that as a punishment Justin’s coach had made him redesign the cheerleading squad’s uniforms, she was overjoyed: “He calls ESPN the cheerleading channel. He’s gonna love it!’’

2. Fierce Loyalty: Hilda came to the defense of Betty, dad Ignacio and Justin. When Gina accused Betty of destroying her $4,000 plasma TV in the series pilot, Hilda attacked and ended up with Gina’s weave in her hands. “I guess we owe you $4,000 . . .  and fifty cents,” she spat.

3. Self-Confidence: Fabulous Hilda, who once compared herself to a “succulent and flavorful” exotic fruit, could rock leopard print and neon at the same time and make it work. A typical quote: “You gotta take every advantage you get in this life. When I gotta go to the butcher shop, I put on my tightest tank top and thanks to the Pointer Sisters right here, the meat man puts me in the front of the line. Is that fair? No. So what?”

4. Resilience: Betty may have endured when ridiculed at work, but when it came to love, no one on the show had worse luck than Hilda—whose boyfriends included a married man and a thug. When her baby-daddy and soulmate, Santos, is killed in a robbery attempt, Hilda allows herself a few weeks of mourning and starts dating again. Finally, after all the man drama, Hilda marries Adam Rodriguez in the series finale. We’d hold out for that too.

5. Bluntness: Subtlety is not exactly Hilda’s strong suit—thank the comedic gods. Two of our favorite quips: “Grow up, Tiny Tim. This means war!”—To Justin, who suggests that she forgive Gina for rearranging their Christmas decorations, in the spirit of the holidays, Season 3. “Have you tried, ‘Where’s my rent, bitch?’ ”—After Betty says she’s been dropping hints to Amanda about paying her share of the rent, Season 3.