Isabella Sierra: The Rising Star of La Reina del Sur and Narcos

Isabella Sierra

The Colombian actress Isabella Sierra Ibagón was born on 26th May 2005, in Neiva, Huila, Colombia, and has been making a name for herself in the entertainment industry since she was just eleven years old.

Career

Isabella’s first role was in a 2016 episode of “Narcos”, then the following year, she played a young Griselda Blanco in “Cocaine Godmother”, a TV movie depicting the rise and fall of the notorious drug trafficker.

Following a two-year hiatus, Isabella had her first recurring role in six episodes of “Big Steps”, a series based on the real-life story of former politician Luis Eduardo Diaz. She also played a young Manuela Saenz in four episodes of “Bolivar: Una lucha admirable”.

After a minor role in the 2019 movie “Holy Expectations”, the actress guest-starred as Estefania in an episode of “Decisiones” and became a series regular in “100 días para enamorarnos”. Her character, Susana Casas, was one of the romantic telenovela’s leading stars, meaning that Isabella got plenty of screentime alongside Manuel Balbi, Daniela Bascopé and other talented actors. Bullying, homosexuality, and family dramas were just some of the topics the popular series tactfully explored.

In 2022, the actress returned to movies with a minor role in the horror film “El Sacrificio”, but which received mostly negative reviews. Without a doubt, however, Isabella’s most popular character to date is Sofía Mendoza in the gritty telenovela “La Reina del Sur”. The brunette began playing Sofía in 2019, and has since appeared in over 110 episodes of the series, making it her longest-running role to date.

“La Reina del Sur” tells the story of a young Mexican woman named Teresa (played by Kate del Castillo) who flees the country following the death of her boyfriend. Teresa successfully creates a new life for herself as a prominent drug trafficker, and must deal with the problems her profession brings. Isabella’s character, Sofía, is Teresa’s daughter and the breakout star of the show.

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In an interview to drum up publicity for season three of the show, Isabella explained the bond between Teresa and Sofía, saying: ‘They don’t always see eye to eye, but even so, there’ll always be a lot of love and protection between them… Teresa Mendoza represents everything that a mother’s love for her daughter means.’ [Translated from Spanish]

Isabella also had to undergo a grueling prep process before filming, which involved following a strict diet and training with self-defense instructors hired by Telemundo, the show’s network. However, the actress spoke positively of the experience, commending her co-stars and all parties involved for their professionalism and team spirit.

Apart from her acting career, Isabella is a keen musician, and one-half of the singing duo Isa & Juli, which released its first single “Si tu amor no vuelve” in late December 2020. Despite being criticized for the risqué outfits they wore for the song’s videoclip, Isabella and her sister Juliana received positive feedback, which encouraged them to release more music, such as the single “No es no” ,and their cover of “La reina del sur”.

In July 2023, Isa & Juli officially signed to the One Take Artists talent and representation company. The sisters are currently teasing their highly-anticipated next single “Enero 12” and its accompanying videoclip.

“La Reina del Sur”

Although Teresa Mendoza is a fictional character, she is based on Marllory Chacón, was born in Guatemala, and began trafficking cocaine to the US via Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. In 2015, Marllory was sentenced to 12 years of prison in the US for drug trafficking, but became a free woman just four years later.

Since then, Marllory has maintained a low profile and avoided headlines as much as possible, although in November 2019, a photo of her with her teenage daughter Christina began circulating online after Christina shared it on her Instagram profile. The photo was deleted shortly afterwards.

Despite avoiding the public eye for obvious reasons, Marllory’s life continues to fascinate millions of viewers. “La reina del sur” premiered in 2011, and made history as one of Telemundo’s most expensive telenovelas ever, with a staggering $10 million budget; after an almost decade-long hiatus, telenovela fanatics were thrilled to learn that Kate and other beloved characters would be returning for the show’s second season.

Speaking of money, Isabella herself at the age of 18, already has a net worth estimated at over $1 million.

Co-Stars

The Mexican-American actress Kate del Castillo was born in October 1972, and began acting at six years old with a role in “The Last Escape”. In 1991, she had a starring role in the Latin-American telenovela “Muchachitas” which made her a household name in her country, and opened the door for more starring roles, this time in “Mágica juventud”, “Azul”, and “Alguna vez tendremos alas”.

Kate’s American TV debut came in 2003 when she joined the cast of the drama series “American Family”. Around the same time, she starred in the rom-com “American Visa”, landed her first Hollywood role with “Bordertown”, and was part of several independent movies such as “Julia” and “The Black Pimpernel”.

In 2009, the actress was appointed Ambassador for the Mexican Commission on Human Rights, and the next year, she used her influence to launch the Blue Heart Campaign, which aims to raise awareness of, and fight against human trafficking.

The Mexican director, producer and actor Humberto Zurita is also an original cast member, who has been playing Epifanio Vargas since 2011. Born in September 1954, Humberto was brought up with nine siblings, and began acting with roles in the musicals “Tommy” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

After graduating from the Centro Universitario de Teatro, Mexico’s most famous acting institute, Humberto explored a number of roles in classical, modern, and absurd plays. In the late 1970s, he joined forces with Televisa and went on to star in a number of the network’s telenovelas, with notable projects including his portrayal of Alberto Limonta in “El derecho de nacer”. Thanks to a stellar performance as Alberto, Humberto won Best Breakthrough Actor of the 1980s, and was nominated for Best Male Revelation.

Other prominent co-stars include Cristina Urgel as Patricia O’Farrell, and Alberto Jimenez, who portrays Oleg Yasikov.

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