You may know Karla Souza as Laurel Castillo, one of the “Keating Five” in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, but the actress is becoming quite the box office force in her native Mexico. Not only is she the star of two of the highest grossing films in that country, but she also has a supporting role in Instructions Not Included, which currently sits at the top of the list.
The actress, who was born in Mexico City, got her start with roles in Televisa novelas like Terminales and Verano de amor and later landed juicier roles in two Gustavo Loza-created TV shows: the musical series Los héroes del norte and the psych ward sitcom La clínica. It’s her latest collaboration with Loza in the Knocked Up-like comedy ¿Qué culpa tiene el niño? which has been breaking box office records ever since it premiered last month and which cements Souza’s status as box office gold.
It’ll only be a matter of time (we hope!) until Souza gets the big screen Hollywood break she deserves. She’s admitted to having refused some offers — apparently the roles were in films that misrepresented Mexico or where she’s asked to be little else than a Latina pretty face. What better time to look back on the movies that made Souza a star south of the border? Consider these 5 roles proof that the trilingual actress (she also speaks fluent French) is one to watch!
Ana Luisa in ‘El efecto tequila’ (2010)
This Wolf of Wall Street-style look at the 1994 Mexican stock exchange crisis was Souza’s first leading role, playing wife to Eduardo Victoria’s Jose Fierro. Amidst the film’s attempts at recreating the “December mistake crisis,” El efecto tequila allowed Souza to play a romantic lead as her character Ana Luisa finds love again in the arms of José María Torre’s Diego.
Roxana in ‘Suave patria’ (2012)
In Francisco Javier Padilla’s raucous action-comedy, Souza played Roxana, the daughter of a rich man who gets entangled with two bumbling actor friends (Omar Chaparro and Adrian Uribe) who’d been hired to kidnap her father. It was one of the first silver screen characters that really pushed Souza into the funny territory she now so easily inhabits.
Moni in ‘Me Late Chocolate’ (2013)
As Moni, a young woman wanting to get back in the dating pool after her fiance, Xavi, dies in an accident, Souza was able to show what a great comedic actress she is. Yes, despite that premise, the film is a laugh out loud comedy that follows Moni as she tries to get rid of the ghost of Xavi who keeps popping up whenever she tries to meet new guys, making them all fear she’s lost her mind.
Bárbara in ‘Nosotros los Nobles’ (2013)
Before her went on to create Club de Cuervos for Netflix, Gaz Alazraki had the biggest hit of his career with Nosotros los Nobles. The record-breaking comedy follows the rich and entitled Noble siblings being taught a lesson by their father, who pretends to be in financial difficulty to get his kids (including his “princess” of a daughter, Bárbara Noble) to learn the value of hard work and earning a living. Souza nails Bárbara’s pampered rich girl mannerisms, getting the best lines of the film, at one point asking why everything’s being taken away from them as if they were in Venezuela.
Maru in ‘¿Qué culpa tiene el niño?’ (2016)
Gustavo Loza’s latest film has become the third highest grossing Mexican film ever, combining as it does a modern rom-com with traditional values. Souza plays Maru, a young woman who gets pregnant after a one-night stand at a wedding party. After tracking down the father, an immature young bachelor, Maru decides to get married because, what could possibly go wrong, right?