I’ve been a fan of Mexican actress Kate del Castillo ever since I got hooked on the Televisa novela La Mentira in the ’90s. I learned so much Spanish watching that show! I love Kate’s badass characters and her outspoken personality, both on and off screen.
She has a pithy, colorful way of expressing herself that has me grabbing my notebook and jotting down lots of fun new vocabulary whenever I listen to her!
Here’s how to learn Spanish with Kate del Castillo:
Kate’s been producing a lot of great original content for Netflix. If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching with Spanish subtitles as studies show it enhances language learning.
These TV shows are on Netflix streaming in the US as of February 1, 2019. If you’re not in the US, just click the title to check if the show is available in your country.
Kate kicks ass in this binge-worthy suspenseful thriller. Lots of Mexican slang, especially the chilanguismos spoken in Mexico City, and great location shots of the capital.
Interestingly, del Castillo’s parts had to be filmed in San Diego, because the actress risked arrest in her home country. She is wanted by authorities for having met with drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán while he was on the run in 2015. Real life meets narconovela!
Kate del Castillo kicks butt again in this insanely popular telenovela. Del Castillo plays a young Mexican woman who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. Gorgeous locations in Morocco, Mexico, Spain, and Colombia. This narconovela probably glamorizes the drug trade, but I loved the powerful female characters.
Great for Spanish practice due to the wide diversity of accents provided by an international cast. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
In this fascinating docuseries, del Castillo presents her side of the now-infamous meeting between notorious drug trafficker El Chapo, Sean Penn, and herself. I’ve always admired Kate for her strong convictions and badass female roles, but here her ambition and naïveté get her into deep trouble. Sean Penn outs himself as a total slimebag, and Kate becomes a convenient scapegoat for the corrupt Mexican government.
Interesting insights into Mexican culture (the influence of Televisa and telenovelas, Mexicans’ deep distrust of their own government) and lots of colloquial Mexican Spanish.
Accents: Wide variety of Latin American Spanish
Narrated by Kate del Castillo, this fun radionovela with a supernatural twist follows twins Sol and Mundo as they travel across the US and Latin America uncovering hidden family secrets and meeting long-lost siblings.
This cross-border mystery consists of eight episodes and features a multicultural cast from across the Spanish-speaking world. Produced by progressive Los Angeles NPR affiliate KCRW, Sangre Celestial is the first ever bilingual radionovela podcast and is downloadable in both English and Spanish.
Accents: Mostly Mexican with some guests from other Latin American countries and Spain
Neteando, which translates as “Telling it like it is,” features Kate and her longtime friend, celebrity reporter Jessica Maldonado. These ladies and their guests get together to dish about their lives and discuss current topics in news, entertainment, society, and culture.
The witty dialogue is peppered with colorful Mexican slang and pochismos (Spanglish). Occasionally, a guest will speak mostly in English; I tend to skip those episodes since they are not ideal for practice.
Update: This podcast has been on hiatus since November 2018 due to conflicts with del Castillo’s work schedule. It was just purchased by radio network Entravision and is expected to relaunch April 2019. It’s still worth listening to the older episodes, though!
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