Playing Jenni Rivera in Telemundo novela is ‘role of a lifetime’

Angelica Celaya is well aware of the significance of playing iconic singer Jenni Rivera.

The Tucson, Ariz., native is starring as the late performer in “Mariposa de Barrio,” a 90-chapter telenovela that debuted June 27 on Telemundo.

Adapted from Rivera’s 2013 posthumously released autobiography “Unbreakable: My Story, My Way,” the series presents an authentic, Rivera family-endorsed portrayal of the banda/ranchero singer’s life, which ended in a plane crash in December 2012 following a concert in Mexico. The California-born Rivera was 43.

“It’s a lot of pressure to represent someone who’s an icon in the Latin community,” says Celaya, 34. “The fans that are out there, diehard fans, they still to this day protect her and love her.

‘The Riveras’ reality show details family life post-Jenni

“So it’s a big responsibility to get it right, and my role as an actor is to really capture the essence of Jenni,” Celaya adds.

“It’s a role of a lifetime.”

Celaya studied at the University of Arizona before getting into acting. Born to Mexican parents, she’s appeared in telenovelas before, but has spent the past few years appearing in American productions including “Castle” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”

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Jenni Rivera

(mun2/Robson Muzel/mun2)

“For the right role, I will go back,” she says of her decision to play Rivera.

“Her fans have always known that, through her music and through her lyrics, she was this woman that wouldn’t take any b.s. from anybody,” the actress adds.

“We’re going to learn why she became this way, why she started writing this kind of music, why her fan base is predominantly women who have gone through so many things and look up to her.

“To this day, they still look up to her.”

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