Angélica Celaya reflects on playing the late Jenni Rivera in the Telemundo series and admits she still talks to Jenni’s family in our EXCLUSIVE interview.
The biographical telenovela Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio was first released in 2017 but has had a resurgence ever since it debuted on Netflix in 2021. The series quickly became a huge hit for the streaming service. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Angélica Celaya, who played the late singer, about the status of her relationship with Jenni Rivera’s family in the years since the series was first released.
“I still see her children,” Angélica told HollywoodLife while promoting the Hispanicize #DeTiDepende virtual summit. “I still talk with her children, and they are amazing, amazing people with such good hearts. I can say, honest to God, in these four years that I’ve known her family, they are real and have big, big hearts. They’re real because they’re like every single one of us with virtues, and they are good, good-hearted people. I felt like home every single time I hang with them. I feel that it’s like they’re my family. They’re amazing.”
The actress admitted that she never imagined the series, which chronicles the life of Jenni Rivera, would be so popular on Netflix. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we were going to get a second wind,” Angélica admitted. “And again, here we are. It’s something very beautiful. I thank the process, and I thank Jenni Rivera’s family because I think the true story that’s going on here is a woman fighting for her right to have a voice in a male-dominated industry and to always fight for her children and her children to have their place.”
Jenni remains a pivotal figure in the Regional Mexican music industry. The singer tragically died in a plane crash near Monterrey, Mexico, in 2012. She was only 43 years old. Angélica opened up about filming the heartbreaking scene where Jenni gets on the plane just before her death.
“It was a hard scene to film,” Angélica told HollywoodLife. “We had a very small crew out in the airfield, and we all wanted to get done with filming as fast as possible. It was very much quiet. Even the cameramen at one point… he was in the jet at a certain angle just to try to get us all sitting in our positions, and he became claustrophobic. He was like, ‘I need you guys to hurry up because I cannot stay here, it’s too much for me.’ And there was a photographer on set who was doing a documentary thing with a Polaroid, and he kept trying to take pictures of me. They were those Polaroid instant pictures, and there was not one picture of me that came out clear, it was always flooded by light.”
She continued, “There was something that was in the air that we all felt. We were all very silent. It was very eerie. Even the set photographer came to me and said, ‘I want to give you these pictures because they’re too eerie to have in my hands right now. I don’t want them.’ They were just flooded by light. There was nothing that came out on focus. This was all at nighttime, so it wasn’t the sun or anything. Nothing came out clear.”
The Hispanicize event, which took place on March 12, brought together celebrities, top medical experts, and community leaders to educate the Latinx community about COVID-19 vaccine. The actress revealed why it was such an important event for her to take part in. “I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning vaccines,” she said. “Unfortunately for myself, and I’m sure a lot of the readers can absolutely testify to having friends and family members that have passed away due to COVID… I think it’s our responsibility as we are looked upon within our community — which I’m very grateful for and never take it for granted — to lend a voice and to try and educate.”