For many Latina girls growing up in the 90s, telenovela actresses were akin to today’s Kim Kardashians and Taylor Swifts. I remember watching novelas with my mom as was one of my favorite pastimes. It was great having a little ritual with her; she was always so busy cleaning and cooking, and rarely took a break. As such, I came to know and love many of the actresses on my screen. It’s been well over a decade since I really got into a novela, but I still look back on many of these shows fondly (and fortunately some can still be found on YouTube and Netflix). If you’re wondering what these estrellas are doing now, read on:
Undoubtedly the queen bee of 90s telenovelas, I can’t imagine there was a single Latina girl growing up at this time that wasn’t obsessed with her. Thalia got her start on a telenovela called Quinceanera, but really came into her own as Maria Mercedes. From there, Thali starred in Mari Mar, Rosalinda, and of course the most melodramatic of them all: Maria La Del Barrio. Eventually, Thalia went on to marry Tommy Mottola (Mariah Carey’s ex), and most recently helped direct a documentary about quinceaneras for HBO.
Edith Gonzalez has one of the most recognizable faces in 90s telenovela history. She got her start in the 1970s, with numerous small parts in both films and novelas. Her first lead role was in the 1984 telenovela, Si, Mi Amor. Gonzalez truly became a household name in the mid 90s though, thanks to her part in the ever-popular Corazon Salvaje among other shows. She has since continued to work in telenovelas, while also raising a teen daughter and battling ovarian cancer (which has since, fortunately, gone into remission).
To the rest of the non-Spanish-speaking world, Itati Cantoral is simply the woman behind so many memes. But to 90s latinas, no one beats Cantoral as the reina of all things drama. The 42-year-old actress had a number of small roles before her supporting role in Dos Mujeres Un Camino. Her true breakout though was in Maria La Del Barrio, as the fiery Zoraya Montenegro. Cantoral has continued to act for the past few decades, and just last year even made a brief (and hilarious) cameo on an Orange Is The New Black short.
One of Mexico’s most beloved singers in the 90s, Lucero also spent a lot of that decade in acting roles. She got her start as the child star on Chispita, and then landed roles on Cuando Llega El Amor, 1993’s Los Parientes Pobres, and 1995’s Lazos de Amor, where she was killing it in multiple roles long before Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany. Lucero has continued to act on and off for television, and has gone on to host a number of Latin Grammy Awards, while continuing her musical career as well.
What ever happened to Bibi?! You may remember her from the retro-themed telenovela Baila Con Migo. Or as the young love interest of Erik Estrada’s character on the highly popular Dos Mujeres Un Camino. You might even recall her widely televised wedding to her Baila and Camila co-star, fellow actor and singer Eduardo Capetillo. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of Bibi after her wedding. The now 46-year-old former estrella is now mother to five children (including a recent set of twins) and has reappeared on social media to the delight of her long-time fans (often appearing with Capetillo, now her partner of two decades).
Kate del Castillo
Kate del Castillo has made headlines in recent years for her unexpected friendship with El Chapo. But long before, del Castillo made her way to fame as a telenovela star. The Mexican actress’ career launched with her role in the popular 1991 novela, Muchachitas. Afterward, she went on to star in Magica Juventud, Azul, and several others. and made the transition into movies with roles in Trade (alongside Kevin Klein) and Under The Same Moon. She also had a recurring role on American television shows like Weeds and Jane The Virgin. Del Castillo’s most recent acting credits include La Reina del Sur (which has since been remade in english) and her Netflix original, Ingobernable.