Kate del Castillo to Play Chavela Vargas in Bio-Series

Renowned queer ranchera singer Chavela Vargas will be portrayed by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo

Kate del castillo Chavela vargas

Photos: Wikicommons/Ventaneadno/Flickr

Renowned Costa Rican-Mexican singer Chavela Vargas was a trailblazer who defied gender norms donning jorongos, pants and carrying guns and tequila while performing with unwavering soul and grit. Her hard-partying and drinking proved to be too much when her battle with alcoholism reached a point that clubs would not hire her to perform anymore and she briefly retired in the 1970s. In 1991, at the age of 72, the legendary singer experienced a sort of renaissance when she performed for the first time since her retirement and sobriety at the Coyoacán club “El Hábito”. This concert jump started her comeback into music—performing again in Spain the following year. The icon was born in Costa Rica but adapted Mexico as her homeland and became known for her rancheras. Vargas’s musical contributions did not go without recognition when in 2007 she was honored with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). Now, the iconic singer will be the focus of an upcoming Caracol TV and Miracol Media series following her life and career starring Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. 

Del Castillo is well known for her roles in many Latin American television series and films. She starred in the 2007 film Under the Same Moon, a film that centers the stories of countless Mexican immigrants through the experience of a young boy and his mother played by Del Castillo. She also played the lead Teresa Mendoza in the popular telenovela La Reina del Sur as well as the role of First Lady of Mexico in the Netflix drama series Ingobernable. Del Castillo told Variety: “It is an honor and a great challenge to have the opportunity to portray a woman as womanly as Chavela Vargas, a character full of contradictions and nuances. That’s what I seek, as an actress, I am passionate about her life and her love for Mexico, the different stages of her life, the good, the bad, and the worst.”

Though it had been known throughout the years, Vargas publicly came out as a lesbian in the year 2000 at 81 years old. For as long as she had been performing, Vargas’ rendition of originally male songs spoke to her love for women since she never changed the pronouns, always singing directly to other women. Her coming out late in life not only speaks to how much of a trailblazer she was for queer Latinas, especially during the time in which she was performing but also gender norms that existed and continue to exist in music.

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chavela vargas Costa Rican Kate del Castillo latina latinas in film mexican ranchera
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