Where telenovelas are concerned, the South African TV playground is largely populated, where international content is concerned, by Spanish, Turkish and Indian shows.
And with the shows either sub-titled or dubbed into English, viewers can’t seem to get enough of the drama, romance, heartbreak, backstabbing and curveballs.
This brings us to The Son I Never Knew, with seasoned actress Gabriela de la Garza at the helm as Clara Zavaleta.
In a chat with the 40-year-old actress, she sheds light on her role in this telenovela.
“Clara Zabaleta is a well-known and respected journalist. While she is dedicated to her work, she has always tried to maintain a balanced family life. She never expects to be involved in such a nightmare with her son but, when she realises she has the chance to obtain the truth about what happened that horrible night in question, she embraces the case like no one else,” she says.
When asked about what piqued her interest about the storyline and her character, she said: “The strength of Clara as a mother and as a woman. Her commitment to helping not only her family but those who need her. And the importance of letting people know how necessary it is to be close to our sons and daughters and to be aware of the way they are communicating among themselves and using social media.
“I knew about the project (this telenovela), I auditioned and was given the role.”
On maintaining a firm foothold in the small and big screen, she says: “Each platform gives me tools and teaches me different things. I also enjoy theatre very much. I think a true actress must know how to thrive under these three disciplines.”
I’m sure viewers are enjoying the twists in the telenovela at the moment. As for what they can expect to see, particularly where her character is concerned, she said: “You will be able to see both sides of Clara. The strong and fearless woman, as well as the weak and vulnerable one, as she faces her eerie reality.”
Some viewers might recognise as Diana Turbay in Netflix’s biopic crime thriller Narcos, which has got TV addicts and critics singing its praises.
She says: “Narcos has been one of the most exciting shows I have ever worked on. Diana Turbay was such a challenge for me, and I had to be very respectful, with her family and with the Colombian people. Working with Wagner Moura, Fernando Coimbra (the director) and such an amazing international cast was incredibly rewarding for me.”
The show, which has been given the nod for a third and fourth season, tells the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Reflecting on the characters that have resonated the most with her, she says: “Every character is like a child for me… But if I had to pick some of them, I would say Italia Meneses from the Capadocia HBO TV series, Alma Aparicio from Las Aparicio, which can also be found on Netflix, and Diana Turbay from Narcos.”
As for what else she has in the pipeline, she says: “I am working on projects with my own production company, Casiopea Entertainment. There are several surprises coming.”
The Son I Never Knew airs on Telemundo (DStv Channel 118) on weekdays at 5.10pm.