Sean Penn interviewed the Mexican drug kingpin with the aide of del Castillo, a Mexican television and film star

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated January 10, 2016 11:10 AM
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Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo has garnered headlines over the weekend for being named as an asset in Rolling Stone and Sean Penn‘s bombshell interview with then-on-the-run Mexican drug kingpin “El Chapo.”

El Chapo, whose name is Joaquén Guzmén Loera, was finally recaptured on Friday, nearly seven months after escaping a high-security prison outside Mexico City. Penn secretly interviewed the criminal in person this past October.

The 33 actress was crucial in brokering the interview, Penn said in the story he wrote for Rolling Stone, as she been in contact with Guzmén for several years. The cartel head wanted the 43-year-old to help him make a biopic about his life, and allowed del Castillo to serve as translator during Penn’s in-person meeting.

While del Castillo’s name may be unfamiliar to some Americans, she has long been successful in the entertainment industry and starred in both Spanish-language and American productions.

Aside from her connection with Guzmén – which began after she pleaded with him on Twitter to work with “love” – and new association with Penn, here are five things you should know about del Castillo.

1. She’s been on Jane the Virgin.
The actress has appeared on The CW’s breakout 2014 comedy, Jane the Virgin. Appearing in three episodes last year, del Castillo portrayed a telenovela actress named Luciana Leon who was once married to Jaime Camil’s Rogelio De La Vega.

2. She played a drug cartel leader on a hit Telemundo show.
Del Castillo is probably best known to Telemundo fans as Teresa Mendoza, the lead character from 2011 hit telenovela show La Reina del Sur.

Much like Guzmén, del Castillo’s Teresa was a ruthless leader of a drug cartel. After falling unexpectedly into crime, Teresa learns the trade and positions herself as a leader, according to Deadline.

The series was the highest-rated program in Telemundo’s 19-year history, Deadline reported.

3. She has her own brand of tequila.
During the summer in 2015, del Castillo announced plans to begin her own tequila line through a special YouTube video. Speaking Spanish, the star told Hispanic and Latino fans that she was “launching a tequila that will speak to us; to all of us here, on the other side, accomplishing important things,” according to the Latin Times.

She has since announced the brand name, which draws from her own moniker: Tequila Honor del Castillo.

4. She’s an animal lover.

The actress has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to speak out against puppy mills in America.

In a special YouTube video with the organization, she asked people to adopt instead of shopping for a dog.

Del Castillo, who has her own pooch named Lola, also spoke to PEOPLE en Espanol about her passion for saving pups.

5. She’ll star as Mexico’s First Lady in a new Netflix series.
The star nabbed the role of Mexico’s First Lady in Netflix’s second-ever Spanish-language original series, Ingobernable.

The 20-episode show is a political drama that will be available exclusively on Netflix later in 2016, according to Deadline.