Looking for a list of some of the most popular Mexican actresses? This post contains a list of incredible Latinx women who have dominated the tv and movie screens in recent years.
Many have gone on to achieve international fame and have starred in movies in the US and across the globe. The popular Mexican actresses here are the ones to watch in 2023 and beyond.
12 of the Best Mexican Actresses in 2023
Kate del Castillo
Kate del Castillo is likely one of the first Mexican actresses that springs to mind at any mention of Latin American cinema. Castillo Is perhaps best known for her role as Teresa Mendoza in the acclaimed telenovela La Reina Del Sur.
The series follows a woman from Culiacan who goes on the run to Spain after her narco boyfriend is killed in Sinaloa. There, She transforms from being a timid woman on the run to running one of the largest drug organizations in Southern Spain.
Three seasons of La Reina Del Sur have been created. The subsequent seasons follow Mendoza and her troupe in their adventures across Mexico and South America.
The third and presumably final season aired on Telemundo in October 2022. When Castillo was asked to comment about a potential fourth season, she said she didn’t see another was necessary.
La Reina del Sur 3 is currently available on Netflix across the globe. The show is significant because it is the only non-English TV series to have ever won a Daytime Emmy Award.
An English version of the show has even been made in the United States named ¨The Queen of the South¨.
However, arguably the original Mexican show that inspired the queen of the South is the one that you should be watching.
Kate del Castillo was born on the 23rd of October 1972. She started her career as a child actress but rose to fame in the 1990s from her roles in various Mexican telenovelas.
Besides La Reina del Sur, she has also played captivating roles in various television shows and movies. Notable works include Ingobernable (Ungovernable), The Same Moon, and ¨y donde estan las hombres?¨ (and where are the men?)
Maria Felix (1914-2002) was one of the most iconic and popular Mexican actresses of her time. She was renowned for her beauty and elegance.
Maria Felix was to Mexican cinema what Audrey Hepburn and the Italian actress Sophia Loren were to the Golden Era of Hollywood. She was more than just another actress.
She was a fashion icon and an inspiration to women and girls across the country. During her career, Maria Felix starred in over 47 movies made in numerous countries across the globe.
She was known as ¨La Doña¨. This was a name given to her based on her role in Doña Bárbara (1943).
She also won the nickname ¨María Bonita¨. Her second husband was the Mexican singer Agustín Lara.
He had written a song for her titled ¨¨María Bonita¨.
Doña Bárbara was the movie that put Maria Felix on the proverbial map. “Enamorada” is also a classic.
It is set during the Mexican war for independence. The story follows a young woman from a noble family in Cholula who engages in a hilarious will they/won’t they romance with a Mexican revolutionary leader.
Doña Diablo (Lady Devil) is another classic filmed in 1950. It follows a woman who seeks revenge after she is wronged by her husband.
During her career, Maria Felix worked with several notable directors including Luis Buñuel and Jean Renoir. She was born in the pueblo magico of Alamos, Sonora.
Here, her former home has been transformed into a museum and shrine to the Mexican actress. It is well worth visiting if you ever find yourself in Sonora.
As you travel around Mexico, you will note many bars, restaurants, and businesses have been named in honor of Maria Felix. She will remain an icon of Mexican cinema for years to come.
The Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek is one of the most famous Mexican actresses of all time. She was born in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico in 1966.
Hayek initially studied political science at the National University of Mexico. However, she later dropped out to follow her passion for acting.
Hayek started her career by playing various roles on the big and small screens in Mexico. But it was when she moved to LA and began starring in Hollywood movies that her career really started to take off.
Hayek has starred in over 80 movies throughout her career. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021.
She has definitely not been typecast as an actress in any particular category and has played a number of roles in comedy, action, and drama movies.
“Once upon a time in Mexico” is perhaps one of the most underrated films that she has starred in. The 2003 movie sees her perform alongside Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, and Willem Defoe.
From Dusk til Dawn and Partners in War are other great flicks worth adding to your radar.
Still, Hayek’s best role was her portrayal of the beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in the 2002 movie “Frida”. The movie explored Frida’s life and marriage to fellow artist Diego Riviera.
Hayek was nominated for several Oscars and an academy award for her portrayal.
Hayek is very private about her personal life. She is married to billionaire businessman François-Henri Pinault who owns the French luxury brand Kering.
Together they share one daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinaut.
Karla Souza is one of the best Mexican actresses in modern Mexican cinema. She was born in Mexico City in 1985 and is perhaps best known for her role as Laurel Castillo in the ABC drama series “How to Get Away with Murder.”
The series, produced in English, follows a criminal law professor and her students as they become involved in a murder plot at their university. It aired between 2014 and 2020.
The series won several prestigious awards and nominations, including an Emmy Creative Arts nomination. Souza has starred in several other Mexican and American tv shows and movies.
She recently appeared in ¨the Day Shift” alongside Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg. One of her most notable roles was in “Nosotros los Nobles¨ in 2013.
This went on to become the largest-grossing Mexican movie of all time. Outside of her acting career, Souza is an advocate for women’s rights.
She is known for her involvement in the ¨me too¨ movement. She has spoken openly about how she was assaulted by a director and encourages women to speak out about abuse.
Demi Lovato is a Mexican actress of Mexican, Native American, and European descent. She rose to fame during her days on Camp Rock where she acted alongside the Jonas brothers.
One of her most famous break-out songs from the movie was “this is me” which she performed alongside heartthrob Joe Jonas. Since then, Lovato has gone on to release albums and singles both independently and as collaborations with other artists.
In 2021, Lovato revealed that she identified as non-binary. She publicly stated that she preferred to be addressed as ¨they¨.
In her acting career, she has starred in Paranormal Activity 3D and has also been a voiceover actor for many children’s animated movies.
Lovato has stepped away from acting a little in recent years and has concentrated on her music career. She cited her struggles with mental health and an eating disorder as the reasons behind the decision.
Eliza González is a Mexican actress and singer who has been making waves in the entertainment industry in recent years. Her mum, Glenda Raya, is a former fashion model, social media personality, and judge on Mexico’s Next Top model.
Her father, Carlos González kept out of the public eye and sadly died in a motorcycle accident when Eliza was 12. This is something that she has said has greatly shaped the course of her life and her acting career.
Eliza attended prestigious private schools in Mexico City before going on to study acting at Televisa’s acting school Centro de Educación Artística. Her first notable role was as the lead in the Mexican telenovela “Lola, Érase Una Vez”.
The telenovela was a Mexican remake of an Argentinian series of the same name. Both are loosely based on the story of Cinderella.
It follows the story of a poor but beautiful girl that falls in love with a rich prince charming. Both have to deal with the difficulties of coming from different worlds.
Gonzalez went on to take more acting classes in New York City before going on to star in the Televisa series Amores “verdaderos” and a tv series remake of From Dusk till Dawn.
In terms of Hollywood movies, she has starred in Hobbs and Shaw (a Fast and the Furious movie), Baby Driver, Godzilla vs. Kong, and “I Care a Lot”.
Martha Higareda is a name that you may know if you are familiar with modern Mexican cinema. Even if you cannot recall her name, you probably recognize her face as she has starred in several movies in Mexico and the US in recent years.
Higareda was born on August 24, 1983, in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico. She started her acting career at age 14 in the TV series “Inocente de Ti”.
From there, her career snowballed. Higareda regularly features in goofy comedy movies such as “No Manches Frida” (2016).
This movie sees a nerdy, shy school teacher named Lucy (Martha Higareda) inspire a group of unruly, problematic teenagers and win the heart of the school’s resident bad boy teacher Zequi (Omar Chaparro).
The second movie, No Manches Frida 2 (2019) is equally as hilarious and follows Lucy and Zequi as they plan their wedding. Another funny Martha Higareda movie to have on your radar is “3 idiotas” (three idiots) which sees a group of friends embark on a road trip in search of a college friend that they lost contact with after graduation.
Higareda speaks fluent English and has starred in several US films such as McFarland, USA (2015), and “Altered Carbon: Resleeved” (2020). She currently lives in Los Angeles with her partner, former athlete, and NYTimes best-selling author Lewis Howes.
Eva Longoria is a Mexican-American actress, producer, director, and activist that is perhaps best known for playing the lead role of Gabrielle Solis in the American television series Desperate Housewives. The series aired from 2004 to 2012 and followed the lives of several bored housewives and all the scandal and mischief they encountered in American suburbia.
Gabrielle Solis was known for her sense of fashion and glamour. This was essentially Longoria’s breakthrough role that put her on the small screen and opened the door to more tv shows and big-screen performances.
Longoria has also starred in the movies “Over Her Dead Body”, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and “The Sentinel”. She herself, has also produced and directed a handful of Latin telenovela-inspired series including “Telenovela” and “Devious Maids”.
In 2022, locals in various places in the Yucatan were delighted when Longoria and her film crew walked into their restaurants and businesses while filming her “Searching for Mexico” series. The series, which will air in 2023, follows Longoria as she explores her Mexican heritage and highlights the wonders of Mexican food and drinks – from street food to Yucatecan delicacies, tequila, mezcal, and everything in between.
More than just a pretty face, Longoria also manages the “Eva Longoria Foundation” which supports Latina entrepreneurs. Its aim is to close the opportunity gap that Latinx people face in education and the workplace.
Yalitza Aparicio Martínez is a Mexican actress from Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca whose feature film debut was in the acclaimed movie “Roma” in 2008. The actress is of Mixtec and Trique indigenous descent and has been recognized by UNESCO as a Goodwill Ambassador for indigenous people.
Aparicio actually had zero acting experience prior to her role in Roma. She was working as a preschool teacher in Oaxaca when her sister suggested that she attend a movie audition.
Even after securing the role, she really didn’t know what it entailed or what an international box office success it would be! Since then, she has gone on to star in Mexican movies like “hijas de brujas” (daughters of witches) and “presencias” (presences).
Many people do not realize how diverse and culturally rich Mexico is as a country. There are more than 68 indigenous groups here and they speak over 300 different languages and dialects.
Each indigenous group has its own traditions, culture, dress, and customs. Like in many nations, the indigenous people in Mexico are often underrepresented in the entertainment industry and mistreated as a whole.
It is for this reason that there have been many clashes between indigenous groups and rights organizations and the Mexican government in some states like Chiapas. So, having Yalitza Aparicio on the silver screen is a great inspiration for other indigenous Mexican women.
Jenna Ortega is an up-and-coming young actress who has started to gain a lot of love and recognition in recent years. Ortega was born in California, USA on September 27, 2002.
She is of mixed heritage. Her dad is of Mexican American descent while her mum is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.
One of Ortega’s first roles was as young Jane Villanueva in the US comedy-drama series “Jane the Virgin”. She has clearly been very busy over the last couple of years as she has had supporting roles in about half a dozen movies in 2021 and 2022 alone.
Ortega played Lorraine, a shy filmmaker’s girlfriend, and assistant in the horror movie “X”. The movie plotline saw a group of broke but open-minded teens try and make their millions by creating a low-budget adult movie.
In 2023, she stars in the 6th installment of the popular slasher movie series “Scream” alongside Courtney Cox, Melissa Barrera, and Hayden Panettiere.
Still, perhaps her most notable breakthrough performance was in the lead role of “Wednesday” in the 2022 modern telling of the life of Wednesday Addams. The debut episode, available on Netflix, was viewed by almost 6 billion people across the globe!
One-fourth of the viewers were from Hispanic households. One fun fact is that the series is actually called “Merlina” in Latin America.
(If Wednesday Addams was given the Spanish name for Wednesday, her name would be “Miercoles”.) This is because back when the original Addams family series was created and tv shows were dubbed, there were no rules around retaining character names, etc.
So many names were changed in Latin America to names that better represented the people. Uncle Festa is Tio Luis for example and Wednesday is Merlina!
Selena Gomez is an actress of Mexican and Italian descent that was born in Grand Prairie, Texas in 1992. Many millennials and Gen X’s across the world have grown up seeing Selena Gomez on their tv screens, particularly on the Disney Channel.
She started her career on the children’s series “Barney the dinosaur” and had several roles as a child actress before starring as teen witch Alex Russo on “Wizards of Waverly Place.”
The coming-of-age series aired for five years. It followed the story of two teenagers living with their warlock father, who tries to teach them how to use magic responsibly.
The last episodes were shot in 2012 to allow Gomez to move on to more adult film roles. However, a spinoff movie called Alex vs Alex was released in 2013 which delighted fans.
Gomez has been in dozens of movies – including Springbreakers, Monte Carlo, and Another Cinderella Story. One of her more moving and underrated films is The Fundamentals of Caring (2106) which sees her join a paralyzed boy with muscular dystrophy and his caregiver on an incredible road trip across the USA.
Aside from her acting career, Selena Gomez is a highly successful singer and songwriter. She has sold over 6.7 million albums worldwide and won numerous awards for her musical success.
Thalia is a beloved Mexican actress and singer who rose to fame in the 1990s. Her full name is Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda and she was named after Thalia, one of the muses in Greek mythology and the goddess of poems and comedy.
Her mum is a prominent Mexican businesswoman. She named her daughter Thalia based on her love of all things Greek.
Thalia has been in several Mexican telenovelas over the years including Rosalinda and Maria Mercedes. Rosalinda is one of the most classic telenovelas of all time in Latin America and a must-watch for anyone interested in the genre.
It follows Rosalind, a young, poor woman who sells flowers for a living. She falls in love with an equally poor local man and later discovers that she is heir to a fortune.
It’s a little dated now, as it was filmed in 1999. But worth a watch nonetheless.
In Mexico, Thalia is just as renowned for her career in the music industry as her acting. She started her musical career with the boy-girl group Timbiriche.
She later went on to develop a successful solo career. “No Me Enseñaste¨, “Piel Morena¨ and “Tú y Yo” are some of her best-loved songs.
Most popular Mexican actresses: final thoughts
The actresses above are some of the most talented Latina actresses in the history of Hollywood and Mexican cinema. Hopefully, you will enjoy watching the movies and television shows that they have created and continue to follow their stories and career.
Are you interested in learning more about Mexican entertainment, traditions, and culture? You may also enjoy this post on the best books about Mexico.
I live in the city of Merida in the Yucatan. I would certainly encourage you to travel to Mexico when you have the opportunity.
Safe travels and enjoy Mexico! xo