Martha Elba Guadalupe Higareda Cervantes (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾtajɣaˈɾeða]) (born August 24, 1983) is a Mexican actress, producer and screenwriter.

Life and career

Higareda was born in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, the daughter of actress Martha Cervantes and artist and therapist Jose Luis Higareda, and sister of actress Miriam Higareda. She began acting on the stage at a very early age, along with dancing jazz, flamenco, tap and folklore. At 14, she moved to Mexico City from her native Tabasco to pursue an acting career. Her debut was in theater participating in various plays, including "Little Women" and "Don Juan."[citation needed]

Being an advanced student, she entered College several years early at the age of 15; studying Communications at El Tecnologico de Monterrey. She would attend college in the mornings while going to acting school in the evenings and performing in theater on the weekends. A year later her mother and sister moved to Mexico City and attended acting school with her. She had her first TV debut as an anchor hostess in Disney Channel’s Zapping Zone.[citation needed]

Alfonso Cuaron came to Mexico City auditioning for Y Tu Mamá También, Martha got the part of Cecilia Huerta, Gael Garcia's girlfriend in the film, but being underage and due to the full on nudity in the movie she was not able to do the role. Cuaron encouraged her to keep pursuing her acting career. Soon after, she changed her major from Communications to the Performing Arts. In 2002, Higareda had her first leading role in the movie Amarte Duele, directed by Fernando Sariñana, in which she shares credits with Luis Fernando Peña and Alfonso Herrera.[citation needed]

The movie quickly became a box office hit and launched Martha's career giving her the nickname "The Mexican Sweetheart". She received The Silver Goddess award for her performance as female lead and the MTV movies favorite actress award.[citation needed]

In 2003, she was offered the lead in a Mexican TV show Enamórate on TV Azteca, next to Yahir, where she also shared credits with María Inés Guerra, Martha Cristiana, Fernando Sarfati, and Amara Villafuerte. But Higareda's passion was in making movies. Higareda returned with the movie Siete Días next to Jaime Camil, in which she played a girl whose dream is to make U2 come to the city of Monterrey in less than a week.[citation needed]

She worked with Carlos Carrera (El crimen del Padre Amaro) in Sexo, amor y otras perversiones winning another Silver Goddess Award. And that same year she was nominated as best supporting actress for the Mexican Academy Awards for her role in Fuera del Cielo, In 2007, she came with her latest production Niñas Mal, directed by Fernando Sariñana where she shared credits with Camila Sodi and Ximena Sariñana. The movie produced by Columbia Pictures was a huge success in which Higareda portrayed punk stubborn yet sweet Adela, her unusual haircut and fashion statement quickly became a trend in Mexican teenagers.[citation needed]

She booked her first American movie in 2007 Borderland where she shared credits with Brian Presley and Beto Cuevas produced by Lionsgate. The movie was screening in the American Film Market when an Agent approached her, he introduced Martha to Craig Shapiro, whom to this day represents Higareda at ICM Partners. Shapiro convinced Martha to move to LA. In 2008, she moved to Hollywood to audition and study script writing and that same year, she worked in David Ayer's film Street Kings, sharing credits with Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, and Forest Whitaker.[citation needed]

She went back to her country with three finished scripts and at the age of 25 she wrote and produced her first independent film, Te presento a Laura. The movie was in the top ten films in box-office for 10 consecutive weeks. She shot the prequel to the crime/action film Smokin' Aces, Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball, as a deadly female assassin with poisonous lips. In 2012, she appeared in Hello Herman with Norman Reedus as an American reporter.

In Lies in Plain Sight she played the lead role, as a visually impaired woman trying to solve the murder of her sister. For this performance she won an Imagen Awards.[citation needed]

In 2014, she also wrote, produced and starred in "Casese Quien Pueda" (Marry whoever can) directed by Marco Polo Constandse and produced by Martha and Miri Higareda and Alejandra Cardenas. The movie quickly became the second biggest box office record of its time. This caught the attention of the American Studios. "I wanted not only to be in movies, but to know the guts of the industry. Making movies it's all a team effort, so if you surround yourself with the best people you learn from them and then if you can also give an opportunity to those whom you believe in their talent, magical things happen"

She won the Mayahuel Award at the Guadalajara International Film Festival for the movie Mariachi Gringo, and that same year she played Amparo in the miniseries Carlos. She worked in the Disney movie McFarland, USA with director Nikki Caro.

In 2016, she produced and starred in No manches Frida, with Edward Allen and Mauricio Arguelles. From Pantelion, Lionsgate, Videocine and Constantin Film, No Manches Frida was another box office hit, where Higareda plays shy yet passionate Miss Lucy who falls in love with a criminal (Omar Chaparro). Martha pitched Chaparro for the role. Made for $2.5 million, the film made 23 million dollars in the box office.

Higareda produced with Miguel Mier, Jimena Rodriguez, Bernardo Rugama the box office success and Mexican adaptation of 3 idiots, a story about following your true passion. This subject has always interested Higareda as she has toured around her country giving inspirational yet grounding talks to teenagers.[citation needed]

In 2018, Higareda starred in Netflix's Altered Carbon, a hard-boiled tech noir television series based on the book by Richard K. Morgan,[1] as detective Kristin Ortega.[2] She also stars in Queen of The South as Castel, niece to a Colombian cartel leader Reynaldo Fieto.[citation needed]

In 2019, she played the lead role of Marisol in Hulu's American horror anthology television series, Into the Dark, episode "Culture Shock".[citation needed]


Film roles

Year Title Roles Notes
2002 Amar te duele Renata
2003 Casa de los Babys Celia
Mujer dormida Marina Short film
El sueño de Elías María, At Age 18
2004 Al otro lado Eréndira
2005 Volver, volver Mónica Short film
7 días Gloria
2006 Sexo, amor y otras perversiones María Segment: "María in the Elevator"
Fuera del cielo Elisa
Así del precipicio Cristina
2007 Niñas mal Adela León
Borderland Valeria
La leyenda de la Nahuala Xochitl Voice role
Hasta el viento tiene miedo Claudia
2008 All Inclusive Camila
Street Kings Grace García
2010 Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball Ariella Martinez
Sin memoria Mónica
Te presento a Laura Laura Also as writer and producer
2011 Malaventura Mitzy
2012 Mariachi Gringo Lilia
Hello Herman Isa Cruz
2013 Go for Sisters Zeidy
2014 Cásese quien pueda Ana Also as writer and producer
2015 McFarland Lupe
Una última y nos vamos Flor Also as producer
2016 No manches Frida Lucy Also as producer
Vive por mí Ana
2017 3 idiotas Mariana Also as writer and producer
2018 Deadtectives Abril
2019 No manches Frida 2 Lucy Also as producer
Tod@s caen Mia Also as writer and producer
2023 Fuga de Reinas Paty Also as writer and producer

Television roles

Year Title Roles Notes
2003 Enamórate Celeste Main role; 125 episodes
2004 Gitanas Young Jovanka Sanchez
2004–2005 Las Juanas Juana Carolina
2008 Tiempo final Flor Episode: "La entrega"
2008 Skip Tracer Jennifer Orellana Television film
2010 Carlos Amparo Episode: "Première partie"
2010 Lies in Plain Sight Sofía Delgado Television film
2011 CSI: Miami Luisa Romero Episode: "Stiff"
2013 Hawaii Five-0 Flora Episode: "Aloha Ke Kahi I Ke Kahi"
2013 The List María Television film
2014 El Mariachi Celeste Sandoval
2014 Royal Pains Viviana Torres 8 episodes
2017 Steven Universe Topaz Voice role, episode: "Stuck Together"
2018 Altered Carbon Kristin Ortega 10 episodes
2018–2019 Queen of the South Castel Fieto 8 episodes
2019 Into the Dark Marisol Episode: "Culture Shock"
2022 Monarch Catt Phoenix Main cast


  1. ^ Hibberd, James (December 4, 2017). "Altered Carbon: First teaser trailer for stunning Netflix sci-fi series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Fitz-Gerald, Sean (2018-02-03). "Martha Higareda's Kristin Is the Breakout Star of Netflix's 'Altered Carbon'". Thrillist. Retrieved 2018-02-28.

External links