Latin America & Caribbean

El Chapo: Who is Kate del Castillo?

Kate del Castillo arriving gala premiere of "The 33" in Hollywood on November 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Most recently Kate del Castillo starred in "The 33", a film about the rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners

While there has been much criticism heaped on US actor Sean Penn for meeting fugitive Mexican drugs lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, there is another well-known name behind the interview between the actor and the cartel leader.

Kate del Castillo is a Mexican actress who brokered the deal between the Hollywood star and the most wanted man in Mexico and also was present at the meeting.

She is an actress who does not shy away from controversy.

Back in 2012, del Castillo made an open appeal to El Chapo urging him to use his drug trafficking empire for love, not violence.

She even said that she believed more in El Chapo than in "governments that hide the truth".

Life imitating fiction?

According to Sean Penn, the drug lord's lawyer contacted del Castillo after the appeal because El Chapo wanted to send her some flowers.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The actress became the go-between for Sean Penn's interview with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

That was the starting point that led the actress to become the go-between for the Rolling Stone interview.

Kate del Castillo is a famous name here in Mexico for her acting roles.

Born in Mexico City in 1972 into an acting family, she is best known for her portrayal of drug boss Teresa Mendoza in the soap opera La Reina del Sur (Queen of the South).

La Reina del Sur is a drama based on the novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Perez Reverte.

In the series, del Castillo plays a young woman from Mexico who rises through the ranks of the Sinaloa drugs cartel to become the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain.

But for this latest "role", del Castillo has moved away from the fictional world of drug lords and is now at the centre of a real and very controversial drug trafficker's tale.

Del Castillo has not given any public comments since the Rolling Stone interview was published on Saturday.

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