June 10, 2016 05:35 PM

Alice Braga promises a return of kickass women to summer television.

“What I like about this character she’s a very strong woman that goes through very poor life circumstances in life,” Braga told PEOPLE at Thursday’s Queen of the South premiere at the 2016 ATX Television Festival. “She just never victimizes herself and always keeps trying to survive in a very pragmatic strong way. I think that’s a beautiful character to portray – especially nowadays that we don’t have many female lead characters. This one could be easily played by a man.”

Alice Braga (as Teresa Mendoza) in Queen of the South
Eniac Martinez/USA/Getty

Based on the Spanish-language telenova La Reina del Sur, Queen of the South chronicles the rise of Teresa Mendoza (played by Elysium‘s Braga), a young woman from Mexico who becomes the most powerful drug trafficker in Spain. Think female Walter White.

“Being a woman, a strong woman is very interesting,” said Braga. “The journey of her from being this woman and becoming who she becomes, a drug lord, is a very interesting journey to play.”

The 13-episode first season of Queen of the South premieres June 23 on USA.

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