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August 29, 2019

Craving Connection

Even with projects all over the globe, Alice Braga still feels connected to her Queen of the South character.

Christine Champagne
  • Gil Inoue

When fans of Queen of the South star Alice Braga approach her, they often exclaim, "Oh my God, you're a badass!" the actress says with a laugh.

"It's funny, because I'm five-foot-two, and I'm not that strong."

It's Teresa Mendoza who is the badass, the Brazilian-born Braga says. After fleeing to America to escape a murderous Mexican cartel, her Queen of the South character became a ruthless drug "queenpin" to survive.

"Even though she is involved in drug dealing and the cartel, I try not to judge what she's doing to live," Braga says. "I try to humanize her and hope I can connect with the audience to show how her heart works."

In season four of the action-packed USA Network series, which premiered June 6, the show moved from Dallas to New Orleans to accommodate the eastward expansion of Teresa's drug empire.

"It's really nice, because I've never been to New Orleans, and there are so many amazing locations here to film, and amazing crews," Braga says. "It's a great vibe, and a lot of people from the city love the show, so it's exciting to tell them New Orleans is going to be part of it."

Best known for her films (City of God, I Am Legend, Elysium), she comes from a family of show-biz Bragas: mom Ana is an actress, as is aunt Sonia, who has appeared in dozens of U.S. films and TV shows.

As busy as Alice is with Queen of the South, she has an active production company in Brazil called Los Bragas, which she runs with her mother and Felipe Braga (no relation). She is an executive producer on two of the firm's Portuguese-language Netflix series, Samantha and Sintonia. And she'll appear in The New Mutants, an upcoming horror-themed X-Men spinoff film.

Now well established in her first U.S. series, she's thrilled by the medium. "With a movie, you start the character's journey, and then it's over forever. With television, you can revisit that character," she says. "It gives you that relationship — the character is alive."

So much so that Braga, like the show's fans, is very attached to Teresa. Every time she wraps production on a season of Queen of the South, she starts to miss her tough-as-nails alter ego and longs to see what's next for her. "It's really beautiful, that connection with the character," she muses.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 7, 2019

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