Kate del Castillo enjoys being a powerful Latina crime boss

Weeds fans know that last week, Nancy woke up in the maternity ward to see a scary Pilar Zuazo standing over her new son’s crib, looking very much like Glenn Close admiring a litter of Dalmatian puppies.

Pilar: “Do you want to know why I’ve never had children?”

Nancy: “Because you’d eat them and children are super-fattening?”

That exchange pretty much summarizes the relationship between the two gorgeous women. Pilar, played by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, has emerged this season as Nancy’s nemesis. She is a powerful crime boss determined to protect baby daddy Esteban’s political career by ending his relationship with Nancy.

The role of Pilar is something of an anomaly in Hollywood. As del Castillo told the Los Angeles Times, “I love playing this powerful Latina woman. We’re usually either seductive, slutty women or we play maids. To play someone with power was a lot of fun.”

Del Castillo’s face may not be familiar to U.S. audiences, but she is a household name in Latin America, where she has starred on nine telenovelas since her acting debut in 1980 in the film El Ultimo Escape (The Last Escape).

She is so well known, in fact, that she had trouble breaking into films in Mexico because of her telenovela personae. Three years ago, she moved to L.A. and, sure enough, has been cast in film, television and commercials. Her movie La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) recently became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film release in U.S. history.

Right now, del Castillo is hard at work on a different kind of telenovela, this one for the Web. The 15-episode Vidas Cruzadas, which premieres August 12 on Univision.com, is one of what she hopes will be many stories designed for Latino audiences in the U.S.

She also has just wrapped Down for Life, a film about a Latina gang leader in South Central L.A., and will be the face of L’Oreal Paris in North America starting this fall. (The other model in the photo had no comment.)

Kate del Castillo has the kind of momentum that tells me we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. And that would make many of us very, very happy.

(Thanks to Melissa for the heads up.)

Did you know del Castillo prior to Weeds? Do you agree that a role like Pilar helps Latina actresses break through stereotypes?

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