MIAMI – Actress Angelica Celaya told EFE on Monday that transforming herself into the late singer Jenni Rivera for the “Mariposa del Barrio” (Butterfly from the Barrio) television series was an enormous physical and emotional challenge that required her to face some of the toughest experiences in the life of the so-called “Diva of the band.”
“I always knew that I had a lot in common with Jenni. She was fanatical about her music, but now in studying her well I noticed that however much she suffered, she fell down and got back up,” said the actress, who is of Mexican origin.
Celaya said that becoming Rivera was a “painful” process, although she has the “shell” any actress uses to protect herself as much as possible when she becomes a character with a similar emotional burden.
Although Celaya will not have to take part in the harsh scenes of domestic abuse that marked Rivera’s first marriage, she will have to face other difficult moments the singer experienced, including the confession by her daughter Chiquis that she had been raped by her father and her divorces, among others.
The actress, who starred in the English-language TV series “Constantine” and worked on soap operas and series such as “El señor de los cielos” and “Alguien te mira,” said that she has felt like Rivera has been close to her since she landed the part.
To effect the physical transformation, the actress had to go on a high-calorie diet, which resulted in her gaining six clothing sizes, but Celaya said that she was not bothered about the change in her body.
“That’s not really important. I’d do that and 1,000 other changes to get closer to the character,” the 34-year-old Arizona actress said. “Because I love the challenge of forgetting Angelica and focusing 100 percent on the character.”
Despite her weight gain, however, she had to use padding in her bust, her hips and her derriere to recreate Rivera’s voluptuous figure.
Celaya is one of three actresses playing Rivera in the series, and “Mariposa del Barrio” is the only one to be approved by the family of the singer who died in a plane crash in Mexico in December 2012.
Regina Orquin will play the actress as a child, while her teen years will be recreated by Samadhi Zendejas.
The Telemundo series – which may be broadcast in late summer – is based on the autobiography “Inquebrantable, mi historia, a mi manera” (Unbreakable, my story, my way) that Rivera wrote before she died and which was published in July 2013.