Her nails are red and long, her heels are more than 10 centimeters, her carmine is intact and her dresses adhere to curves that make her dizzy. She is Isabella Bautista, the name that Netflix producers have decided to grant -for a matter of rights- to Sandra Ávila Beltrán, known around the world as the Queen of the Pacific. The only woman among the founders of the drug empire in Mexico, the great public relations of the narco, raised in the codes of a world controlled by hard, ruthless men, with a history that has elevated it to legend and that revives in Narcos Mexico through the Oaxacan actress Teresa Ruiz (Santiago Matatlán, 1988). The platform has already announced a second season.
Ruiz plays a young Sandra at the beginning of the business. Interpreting the Queen of the Pacific, only valued by her physique, was not easy, "with what she was," says the actress. Her character is continually humiliated and reduced to her appearance: "Take her to Colombia, Colombians love a round ass," they say of her at one point in the series. Ruiz admits to having identified so much with his character that he stopped talking to Diego Luna (who plays the capo Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo) during the film breaks.
Question. How important is it for a female character to appear among the founders of Mexican drug trafficking?
Answer. Narcos It has been a series that has been directed a lot to men and that has told their stories. The women who appeared were mostly brides, lovers or wives who were crying for their criminal husband. Yes there were women drug traffickers in Colombia, but the story was very focused on Pablo Escobar. And when they do the Mexican season they realize that there was a set of outlandish characters that made up this federation and among them they recognize the character of Sandra, they explored in depth about their life and they were very interested.
P. And what was it that most captivated you in your story?
R. I was very attracted to this woman so exaggerated in everything: the jewels, the nails, the buchonality [mujeres que se mueven en el mundo del narco] and the rude character of a Sinaloan woman. There they are very enteros and very hardworking. That she was always in a world of men and she felt comfortable without losing that femininity, that idea of exploring power through sensuality. Many times you see characters, often written by men, where the woman is either pretty or smart, or strong or the wife. She had everything.
P. But in the series it is also very vulnerable.
R. Just that was a very nice contribution from one of our directors, Amat Escalante. Because she plays with the idea of what she was and what she came to be, the Queen. But we started when she is very young and still does not have her empire. And the exploration of that woman in that context of the eighties, of the conflict that really meant getting into a world of men and wanting to excel, while all of them attack you. The actors had the direction to humiliate me and I to maintain that vulnerability. Because that was the way reality was. I think it has been a very big mistake of the other fictions to paint it as extremely strong. Women who work and want a life of their own suffer a lot and come home and cry and it is a real conflict. We were very interested, especially Amat, not to miss the reality of the internal conflict that this woman is leading and how she overcomes the blows.
P. In the series it seems that they are only interested in his body, who does not recognize her as The Queen of the Pacific may think that it was a mere accompaniment of the narcos. Did it bother you as a woman to interpret these dynamics?
R. Yes, yes, it bothered me a lot. I quarreled with the writers at the beginning, until I understood that it is much more important to provoke that rage in the viewer than to idealize a character. I have seen many comments in women's networks that tell how they live something like this in their day to day life and I think in that sense it is very successful.
P. What scene bothered you the most?
R. In which we left a meeting and one of the characters says: "Take it, the Colombians love a round ass". And when leaving, Felix [Gallardo] He says: "Hey, you should come, right?" And there, look nice and respond softly: "What you say Felix …". Even when I see her now I get angry. There is another scene in which Felix says to me: "You are going to take what I give you or you are going to be left with nothing". At that time I thought: "But if you are the one who has nothing".
P. Did you identify up to that point with the character?
R. Very, very much … The line was erased. Those scenes bothered me so much that there were days when I did not speak to Diego [Luna]. And the other like this: "Hey, she's crazy!" – she laughs remembering it. Well, I also, to some extent, learned over the years to use my own physique, my sensuality as a woman, and it's not that it's wrong, but without wanting to enter into that macho dynamic. They also use their seduction, only they do not judge them when they use their resources to get what they want. They call us climbers.
P. Do you think there is that image of a climbing woman from The Queen of the Pacific?
R. No, I think I did not get there. It is even sadder. Many see her as a useless woman: "She did nothing, no more She's beautiful. "But if you notice, there are a lot of characters in the series who did not do anything, they were just men and they gave them a place …" He laughs, realizing that he has identified too much with his role and that defends even with the same jargon of the drug.
P. What role would say Sandra Ávila had in the development of the Guadalajara cartel?
R. She was a visionary, she was one of the first to realize that marijuana was going to reach a certain point and that cocaine was going to expand more. She had those connections with Colombia, in fact, one of the nicknames was The Colombian Connection. Many also called it "the public relations of the narco". And many others did not value their power, but without it, how would everyone have known each other?