Looks like television has made a cross-over into reality.
News of Mexican druglord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's capture this weekend is still fresh in everyone's minds, and so is U.S. actor Sean Penn's interview with him. However, while the 55-year-old actor has received much criticism for meeting El Chapo in secret, another popular name that has popped up in connection to the interview is Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.
Without her, the interview between Penn and the cartel leader wouldn't have been possible.
Who is she exactly and how is she connected to El Chapo?
Kate del Castillo is a Mexican actress who is not only famous in her home country, but somehow in the United States as well for having appeared in several TV shows.
In 2002, the 43-year-old actress appeared in the PBS series "American Family," which tells of the life of a Latino family in Los Angeles. She also starred in CW's 2014 comedy series "Jane the Virgin."
Even at a young age, del Castillo had the background for stardom. She was born in 1972 to an acting family in Mexico City. Currently, she is most popular for playing the role of drug boss Teresa Mendoza in the TV series, "La Reina del Sur" (Queen of the South), which is based on Spanish author Arturo Perez Reverte's novel of the same name.
In the drama series, del Castillo becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in the Sinaloa drugs cartel in southern Spain after rising through the ranks from when she was a young woman.
"It was every actress' dream," del Castillo said of her role. "She is a character who sleeps with married men, smokes marijuana, traffics drugs, kills people, she swears a lot and she is a big drunk."
In addition to "La Reina del Sur," she also appeared in U.S. television series "Weeds," where she played a mobster.
Now it seems that the Mexican actress has made a cross-over from fiction into reality as she made the secret meeting between Sean Penn and the world's most wanted drug cartel boss, El Chapo, possible, at a time when Guzman was on the run in October. She was present during the meeting, too.
The meeting took place three months before El Chapo was captured for the second time.
It appears that Kate del Castillo's connection to El Chapo began way back in 2012 when she made an appeal to the drug boss asking him to use drug trafficking for love and not violence via Twitter, according to the BBC.
"Today, I believe more in Chapo Guzman than in the governments that hide the truth from me," she said.
Later, del Castillo reportedly told The Associated Press that "nobody understood the irony, the sarcasm and the joke I was making" in the letter.
However, her on- and off-screen persona seemed to fit her like a glove.
In a blog penned by Perez-Reverte, the novelist seems to agree when he wrote, "The Queen of the South set up an interview with El Chapo. I wouldn't expect any less of her."
Apparently, del Castillo's Twitter appeal attracted the attention of the drug kingpin.
Sean Penn said that El Chapo's lawyer contacted del Castillo following the Twitter appeal in 2012, telling her that the drug boss wanted to send her flowers. This eventually opened the opportunity for Penn's interview.
Since del Castillo missed the flowers Guzman sent her, El Chapo's reps contacted her a second time following his February 2014 arrest at a time when "gringos were scrambling to tell his story," Penn wrote in the Rolling Stone article.
Del Castillo is also interested in making a film about Guzman, and she isn't lacking in connections in the film industry to make the bio possible. However, it's still uncertain how far in the pre-production stages the movie is in.
According to The Associated Press, it remains unclear whether del Castillo, who currently resides in Los Angeles with a U.S. citizenship, is being investigated by U.S. and Mexican authorities.
Since the Saturday release of the Rolling Stone interview, del Castillo has not made any public comments.