Before I hop on Zoom for my interview with Kate del Castillo, I’m listening to Vicente Fernandez’s ‘Me Voy A Quitar De En Medio,” the theme song from my favorite telenovela, La Mentira, in which del Castillo starred when she was 26 years old. The actor and Mexican multihyphenate has been gracing television screens since 1983, when she made her acting debut in the TV film Las Sobrinas del Diablo, directed by her father, actor and telenovela royalty Eric del Castillo.
By the 1990s, Kate del Castillo had multiple telenovelas several films, and a Ricky Martin music video on her résumé. She crossed over to the United States with a role in the 2002 PBS show American Family, the first drama series to have an all-Latinx cast, before making it to Hollywood in 2007 with the film Under the Same Moon, the story of a young boy who comes to the US to find his mother after his grandmother passes away in México.
Hollywood was only the beginning of del Castillo’s making her stamp on American entertainment and media. Since then, the actress has taken on film producing, a clothing brand, and launched a tequila brand Honor. With all that under her belt, I ask del Castillo what has been her biggest project to date. She quickly names her character Teresa ‘La Mexicana’ Mendoza from the Netflix’s drama series La Reina del Sur, where she plays a resilient woman from Mexico who ultimately becomes Spain’s most powerful druglord.
“Teresa is just an iconic character,” she tells Glamour. “People from so many countries have written me saying that Teresa has changed their life in so many ways. She’s a warrior and survivor. Now it is a much more mature Teresa Mendoza. She’s the mother of a teenager, and that’s her motivation. She’s been in prison four years now, and that’s where we see her after the end of the second season.”
Del Castillo has been married, for lack of a better word, to Teresa for the past decade. Since La Reina del Sur debuted in 2011, del Castillo has taken viewers on a whirlwind journey the past two seasons and just wrapped filming the third season, airing October 18.
Ahead of the premiere, we caught up with the beloved actor for Glamour’s Big Beauty Questions. Ahead, Kate del Castillo shares how she keeps her skin looking youthful, the face cream she swears by, and why a tequila shot a day “keeps the doctor away.”
Glamour: For season, 3 Teresa is traveling throughout Latin America. Do you have a favorite place you shot?
This Reina comes with so many beautiful, amazing, really marvelous places. The Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia look just beautiful. Argentina is a very classy and very European country. Buenos Aires was just beautiful. Peru and Macchu Picchu, all of these beautiful and amazing places. That’s why I love my job, because it has taken me to so many amazing places that I probably would have never gone if it wasn’t for that.
Did you pick up any beauty tips along the way?
All these different places, the glamour is just different. They dressed me specially with the kind of clothing that is typical to that country. They did an amazing job with the wardrobe; it’s so different, but it’s all glamorous. To be honest, I don’t wear a lot of colors, but now I am in green. I like color now, and how much color relates to different countries and cultures. I now use a little more in my eyes, in my lips, it’s all there.
What’s one beauty trend you’re obsessed with right now?
When you grow older, less is better because makeup just makes you look older. I try to keep it as natural as I can, but I think the best thing ever is just nice skin. If you have a good cream. If you have good skin, then you can do whatever and go from there. I try to keep up with my beauty routine for my face. A little bit of color here and there if I go out, but I’m obsessed with natural beauty, to be honest.
What’s your go-to product?
It’s probably been 20 years using Obagi products. That’s all I wear, Obagi. And depending on what I’m doing, if I’m shooting or not, if I’m on vacation or not, I do the Obagi Medical Revivify Multi-Acid Facial Peel. It’s hard on your skin because you start peeling and your face gets really red, but then it looks amazing when you’re shooting. I go through that every two years.
Do you have a beauty rule that you think is complete BS?
Anything that keeps you from living. Or things that tell you you can’t even go outside or you can’t drink this or you can’t do that. I’m like, ‘No, no, no!’ Just live your life. Life is short. Have a great time, take care of your skin, take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of everything. You only have one body, and you have to take care of it all at the same time evenly. It’s not all about how you look; it’s how you feel inside, and that’s for sure is going to come out. For sure.
How has beauty in telenovelas changed throughout your career?
Reina del Sur is a superseries, which is a different thing in so many ways, but you’re definitely going to see a Teresa Mendoza that doesn’t look as glam. And I love that about her; I love that about the character. I love that about the aging too. Not only for Teresa Mendoza, but for any woman. I feel, for the first time in my life, absolutely comfortable in my own skin. In so many ways: I don’t care if I have makeup or not, if I am not as skinny as I want to be or whatever. What you see is what you get. And really I don’t care. As an actress you do a lot of different characters, and that’s the part of the job that I love.
You also have your tequila brand, Honor. What’s your go-to cocktail?
Well, it’s my go-to for beauty too. Tequila is everything in life. They say that one shot of tequila a day keeps the doctor away. It’s not the apple—the apple is BS—it’s tequila. I don’t do cocktails much because it’s a lot of sugar and then I get a headache, so I like my tequila straight up. I like to sip on tequila. But if I would go out, I would have only one cocktail and then I will do only the tequila. I like the spicy one with jalapeño. No mezcal, por favor. I hate mezcal. I can’t do it with mezcal, but an Honor tequila blanco.
Your theory isn’t wrong. I have a tía that passed away at 105 years old, and when my grandparents asked her the secret, she said she took a shot every day.
Well, there you go! See, it’s not only me. I don’t care if I’m selling you tequila or not. It’s just wise advice from a woman to another woman.