Teresa Mendoza
played by Alice Braga
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Teresa Mendoza is a poor young woman from the “barrio” of Jalisco, Mexico who found a way to rise above her hopeless conditions—first by falling in love with a successful member of a drug cartel, then eventually by creating her own powerful drug empire and becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Learn More About Teresa Mendoza

She learns the hard way that she can only depend on herself and stay one step ahead of everyone else if she wants to stay alive. As her desperation morphs into determination, Teresa’s journey to becoming the Queen of the South begins.

In her television debut, Alice Braga stars as Teresa Mendoza in USA Network’s new drama, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH.  This adaptation of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s best-selling novel, La Reina Del Sur, follows Teresa’s journey as she learns the tools of the trade and positions herself as the leader of the very drug cartel that had her on the run.

WATCH: Alice Braga Talks Queen of the South

The Brazilian born actress received critical and international recognition for her stirring performance in “City of God,” which helped catapult the film to multiple Golden Globe® and Oscar®nominations.  A multiple-award winning actress, Braga received best actress awards at Miami International Film Festival, International Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro and Verona Love Screens Film Festival for he role in “Lower City”; at Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto for “The Milky Way;” at Paulinia Festival for “Blindness;” and at Punta del Este Film Festival for “Cabeça a Prêmio.”

Next, Braga will be seen in Kieran-Darcy Smith’s “By Way of Helena” co-starring opposite Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth.  She will also appear in Stuart Hazeldine’s “The Shack,” alongside Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw.  Braga was last seen in the Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic drama, “Elysium,” opposite Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley.   Additional recent film credits include Walter Salles’ “On the Road” alongside Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund and based on the book by Jack Kerouac; Mikael Hafstrom’s thriller “The Rite” opposite Anthony Hopkins; Miguel Sapochnik’s thriller “Repo Men” opposite Jude Law and Forest Whitaker; as well as Nimrod Antal’s science fiction film “Predators” opposite Adrien Brody.

In 2008, Braga had three films. “Blindness” in which she re-teamed with director Fernando Meirelles and starred opposite Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo; as well as David Mamet's “Redbelt” which followed the life of a Jiu-jitsu master, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and co-starring Emily Mortimer; and finally Wayne Kramer's film “Crossing Over,” in an ensemble cast led by Sean Penn and Harrison Ford.  Prior to this, Braga starred in the blockbuster success film, “I Am Legend,” opposite Will Smith.

Other film credits include Heitor Dahlia’s “Drained” (O Cheiro do Ralo) opposite Selton Mello; Eric Eason’s “Journey to the End of the Night,” featuring Mos Def and Brendan Fraser; Carlos Bolado’s “Only God Knows” (Sólo Dios Sabe), opposite Diego Luna; as well as the riveting drama “Lower City” (Cidade Baixa) about the dangers of a love triangle.  For her performance, A.O. Scott of the New York Times hailed Braga as “one of the most forthrightly and powerfully sexual screen actresses in the world.”

Braga is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English.