Adela Amalia Noriega Méndez (born 24 October 1969), better known as Adela Noriega (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈðela noˈɾjeɣa]), is a Mexican actress. She is known for her starring roles in telenovelas and some of her most notable works include Quinceañera, Dulce Desafío, María Isabel, El Privilegio de Amar, El Manantial and Amor real. Noriega came to prominence as a teenager and her success has led her to be known as one of the "Queens" of the genre.
Adela Noriega was born in Mexico City, Mexico. Her father died when she was very young and her mother passed away in 1995. She has two siblings; an older sister, Reyna, and a younger brother, Alejandro.
Noriega was discovered as a child, at the age of twelve she was scouted in a shopping centre while she was walking with her mother. Shortly after, she began to work as a fashion model and started appearing in TV commercials and music videos. After being spotted on a shooting of a commercial by Patty de Llano, wife of the producer Luis de Llano Macedo, she began working as a teen actress. She made her debut on television at the age of fourteen in the telenovela Principessa and shortly after she participated in Juana Iris. In both shows she interpreted antagonists. She also guest starred on the comic show Cachún cachún ra ra! for a few years.
Noriega made her debut as a leading actress in 1986, with only sixteen years of age when she was given her first lead role in Yesenia, a historical telenovela in which she portrayed a rebellious gypsy. From then on she began to work solely as a leading actress of many successful telenovelas with international distribution.
She rose to greater prominence in 1987 when she obtained the leading role in the iconic Quinceañera, telenovela about coming of age. Quinceañera was the first telenovela that geared towards adolescents and that revealed the problems they face in this transitional period from childhood to adulthood. Topics such as substance abuse, rape, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, gangs and self-acceptance were being explored for the first time in this genre. The telenovela had a great impact in Mexico and other countries worldwide. In 2008, it was included in the Associated Press's "10 Most Influential Telenovelas of Latin America" list, "because it represented a precedent in this genre and has had an influence on the collective imaginary."
The year after, she returned to television in another successful teen-oriented telenovela; Dulce Desafío, directed by Arturo Ripstein. She played Lucero Sandoval, an adolescent who rebels against her emotionally distant father.
Noriega obtained a contract with the rival network Telemundo in 1993 and played the leading role in Guadalupe. For signing a contract with a different company, she was banned from her previous network, Televisa. Nevertheless, the telenovela Guadalupe resulted to be an international success and it was especially well received in the Arabic-speaking states, to such an extent that she was invited to be the guest of honour of the King of Morocco in 1994. In 1995, she moved to Colombia and joined RTI, starring in María Bonita, where she interpreted the title character, a singer who stays trapped on a Caribbean island.
She returned to Televisa in 1997 and collaborated with the producer Carla Estrada in four consecutive productions. The same year, she appeared in television as the lead character of María Isabel, interpreting a young indigenous woman faced with discrimination and lack of opportunities because of her origin. The telenovela presented the iconography of the tribe Huichol, based on indigenous folk beliefs and traditional symbols, and dealt with racial, cultural and class issues of the Mexican society. For her characterization of the lead female character, Noriega received TVyNovelas Award for "Best Young Actress in a Leading Role."
A year later, she starred in El Privilegio de Amar, adaptation of Cristal, opposite Helena Rojo in a story that revolved around the world of fashion industry and show business. El Privilegio de Amar is officially the highest rated television program in Mexico to date, according to IBOPE. The show was an international success as well. In 2001, she starred in El Manantial, under the direction of Mónica Miguel and Adriana Barraza, co-starring Mauricio Islas. For her performance as the lead female character Alfonsina Valdes Rivero, she received another TVyNovelas Award, among others.
In 2003, she returned to television in the highly acclaimed historical telenovela, Amor Real in a story that was set in the Mexican post-independence period of the mid-19th century. The novela registered very high records of audience in Mexico and at the time of its airing on Univision, occasionally it managed to beat leading U.S. networks in the raitings. In 2005, Amor real was released on DVD and due to its success, it became the first telenovela to be released with English subtitles. Noriega received various recognitions for her portrayal of the aristocrat Matilde Peñalver y Beristáin.
Her most recent starring role was as the lead female character Sofía Elizondo in the telenovela Fuego En La Sangre from 2008. The telenovela was a big success in Mexico and the U.S., but it received mostly bad reviews.
Awards and honours
Noriega has been honoured with multiple awards for her work in the television industry, and because of the wide acceptance of her work, she has been identified and regarded as the "Queen of telenovelas" by the specialized critics and the media. She has also been named the "Queen of raiting" because of the enormous success of the productions she starred in, taking them to the top of the raiting charts every time.
Noriega is known for her discretion and reserved demeanor towards the media. Lives in the United States.