Betty Suarez finds her way into the world of fashion magazine Mode.
We first see Betty waiting nervously for a job interview at Mode magazine. She tries to make small talk with the chic Dolce & Gabbana clad woman sitting next to her but this is doomed to fail. Finally, a man comes in search of her, but once she has stood up and his eyes disgustedly pan her appearance, he informs her that all positions have been filled. She instantly begins to gush about all of her interests, her ambitions, her ideas and her love of fashion but it is all for naught. The door slams in her face.
Betty's nephew Justin is watching television. 'I hate telenovelas!' he exclaims before asking if he can watch fashion file instead. Betty walks by to sit down at the dinner table with her father and Hilda. They ask her how the interview went and her father is disappointed she didn't get the job. He tries to reassure her, but Hilda changes the subject. She says there's news. Justin overheard her boyfriend saying on the phone that 'she is the one'. They expect that he will ask her to marry him. Just then, her boyfriend appears with a defective CD player as a gift and asks to speak to her alone. When they get outside, she sits in awkward expectation only to be told that he is in love with someone else. She says she understands as if this was somehow expected, he awkwardly says 'good luck' and goes.
Meanwhile, Justin has switched to FashionTv where we get the latest news about goings-on at Mode. Fashion diva Wilhelmina was shockingly passed over for the editor's position at the magazine, in favour of the owner, Bradford Meade's, utterly unsuited son Daniel. 'Can the man wh*** shift his talents from bedding women to dressing them?' the host queries.
Bradford catches Daniel in flagrante delicto with one of his secretaries and tells him that 'this is no way to run a magazine.' With a mouth full of food, Betty gets a call from the magazine informing her that she got the job. Her nephew, jealous that she works at Mode, tells her that she better have something fashionable to wear.
Betty arrives at work in a god awful poncho to be greeted by Amanda the receptionist quipping: 'Are you the before for the before and after shoot?' Amanda quickly shows her around before directing her into the conference room. She tells herself that she is 'an attractive and capable businesswoman' before awkwardly stumbling in to the sound of assorted gasps. Daniel Meade is introducing himself to the gathering and trying to relate his rather vague vision for the magazine.
Wilhelmina and her assistant Marc interrupt the speech, annoyed that he hadn't waited for them and presents him with a gaudy gift upon which his misspelled name is emblazoned. Wilhelmina takes the opportunity to accentuate how much work is needed on the magazine, how he needs everyone's help to make things a success. They leave, Marc pointedly telling Betty that she has a 'killer poncho' before doing a gagging routine. Betty then approaches Daniel and tries to introduce herself to him but he can only look at her with dread. Then, as Marc is doing botox on Wilhelmina, while she rants about how Daniel was picked over her, they begin to plot their future plans.
Betty is doing photo prep work while Amanda gossips about Daniel's lothario ways. The photographer Fillipe is in Daniels' office with him discussing their new shoot. Daniel already suspects Wilhelmina of trying to undermine him. Betty interrupts to ask if they want anything and then begins to go on about Fellipe's work and makes the mistake of comparing it to another photographer's. When she exits, he is perplexed and annoyed that Daniel would allow a 'fugly' girl to work for him and represent the company. Daniel doesn't know what he should do so Fellipe suggests that he 'beat her down to a pulp.'
Betty walks around the cafeteria to the horrified glares of all around her. People purposely get out of the way as she moves through the room. Finally, Christina comes and sits with her, introducing herself and a small coterie of other women who Marc refers to as 'the Bizzaro world version of Sex and the City.'
In a scene that teases of things to come: Bradford Meade meets a man in the park and they have a mysterious exchange about a funeral and shielding the company from information leaking out.
Daniel, meanwhile, has begun his quest to make Betty quit by giving her a series of ridiculous and degrading tasks which include having her keep watch outside of his building to tell him when a new model is heading up for him. Such tasks cause her to miss her father's birthday. Hilda disappointedly tells her that this was the first time she missed it since her mother died. A tired and depressed Betty sits on the couch and stares at an image of her mother only to be inspired with an idea for work. The next day, she meets Daniel in the elevator and tries to tell him her idea but he fobs her off with annoyance and sends her off to fetch clothes for the shoot. She goes to pick them up from Christina who, sensing her dejection tries to comfort her. She realizes that Betty is not really into fashion. Betty complains that Daniel treats her 'like dirt' and won't look at her ideas. Christina then confesses to her that, the gossip is that Bradford Meade hired her, not Daniel, and he only did it to get his son to stop sleeping with his secretaries. Betty accepts this like it was expected and tells herself that she should just be thankful for the opportunity.
At the photoshoot, a model is missing and Fellipe has a flash: They'll use Betty. This will surely make her quit. Daniel agrees and asks her to stand in. She walks off and they expect her to have quit, but she appears a moment later in full gear. They set her up and within moments the entire room has burst into laughter which sends a distraught Betty from the building clinging to her composure. Daniel is upset by this however, and follows her out. She tells him: 'This is what you wanted isn't it?' and leaves him behind.
Betty is back home with Justin who tells her that Hilda didn't think she would last. Two doors down, a couple make-out loudly. Betty becomes so incensed and she bursts in, believing it to be her ex-boyfriend. Shockingly, it isn't. The woman dumped him after she got a discount on a TV. Betty leaves, slamming the door and knocking the woman's plasma TV to the floor.
Fabia from Fabia Cosmetics, who commissioned the photoshoot, is in the conference room for a viewing. She is aghast that the photos feature a car wreck and storms from the room hurling insults at Daniel. Wilhelmina explains that Fabia was in a car accident where she ran over several people last month. Daniel is embarrassed and tries to tell Bradford that he is being sabotaged by Wilhelmina. Bradford doesn't accept this and says the only person sabotaging him is himself. It turns out however, that Wilhelmina and Fellipe plotted together, as we find them in bed toasting their revenge on Daniel; she for his stealing her position; he for his stealing a girlfriend. Daniel returns to the office to look for a new idea and finds Betty's proposal.
Betty's boyfriend has come looking for her, begging her to take him back. Then, Daniel appears and scares him off (he believe that he is a suitor). Daniel apologizes but Betty tells him that someone like him can't possibly understand the problems she faces on a daily basis. He tells her that everyone has problems, he just lost a brother. Then he says that he saw her designs and they were food. With a promise that things will be different, he asks her back. She reluctancy agrees.
Fabia has returned to Bradford and Wilhelmina apologizing for Daniel's thoughtlessness. They are about to unveil their idea when Betty and Daniel appear and give the slide show Betty came up with. It features images of mothers and daughters. Fabia isn't terribly convinced by it until they give her some decent marketing statistics which satisfies her and she nonchalantly exits. Bradford congratulates them and Betty gives Daniel all the credit. Wilhelmina smirks at them before leaving to speak with her mysterious collaborator, with whom she begins planning how to remove both Daniel and Betty.