played by Justina Machado
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Brenda and her husband Chino befriend Teresa when she starts dating Guero. Chino and Guero worked together for Epifanio’s cartel.

When Guero goes down for scamming the cartel, so does Chino, causing Brenda and their young son Tony to make a run for it with Teresa. Strong-willed and independent like Teresa, Brenda doesn’t take long to set up her own business network once she gets to Texas to support herself and her son. She remains loyal to Teresa and the two best-friends-turned-family help each other out when needed.

Justina Machado stars as Brenda, Teresa Mendoza’s (Alice Braga) closest friend, in USA Network’s newest drama series, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH.

WATCH: Justina Machada's Cast Interview

Known for her elite theater and on-screen performances, Machado is best known for her SAG Award-winning role as ‘Vanessa Diaz’ in “Six Feet Under.”  She made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning Best Musical “In The Heights.”  Machado also starred opposite Marc Feuerstein in Neil Labute’s “Some Girls” at the Geffen Theater and was in the world premiere production of “A Free Man of Color” directed by George Wolfe at the Lincoln Center Theater.

She also starred in the comedy “Welcome to the Family” and has had recurring roles on “Private Practice,” “Desperate Housewives”, “Devious Maids,” “Switched at Birth” and “The Fosters.” She also lent her voice to the role of Rosa in the animated series “Murder Police,” as well as Carmen in “Eleanor of Avalor.”

WATCH: Justina Machado's Set Tour

Additional credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” as well as features including Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Frontal” and “Torque” opposite Ice Cube.  Her first feature credit was “She’s So Lovely” starring Sean Penn, directed by Nick Cassavetes.  Machado appeared in “The Accidental Husband” opposite Uma Thurman, Bernard Tavenier’s film, “In the Electric Mist” opposite Tommy Lee Jones and the independent film “Pedro,” which she won the FilmOut Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress.  Most recently, she appeared in the thriller “The Purge: Anarchy.” 

Born in Chicago, Machado performed in many Latino Chicago Theater Company productions and is of Puerto Rican descent.