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Tucson native Angélica Celaya fends off critics of her Jenni Rivera portrayal

Tucson native Angélica Celaya fends off critics of her Jenni Rivera portrayal


Angélica Celaya and her boyfriend, Luis García, shown at the premiere of “Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio” in late June, are expecting their first child.

Tucson native Angélica Celaya has been weathering a mini-storm of criticism from fans of the late Jenni Rivera for her portrayal of the singer in the Telemundo series “Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio.”

Some of Rivera’s fans have taken to social media to criticize Celaya’s portrayal, according to a story posted on

The story attributed the criticism mostly to Telemundo’s competition, Univision, airing its own Jenni Rivera series early this year.

Rivera’s family has since filed suit against Univision, claiming the source of their series came from a tell-all book by Rivera’s manager Pete Salgado that included details that should have been kept confidential according to a non-disclosure agreement he had with the star that prevented him from sharing intimate personal and financial details. The star’s estate contends that Univision greased the wheels with Salgado, providing financial incentives to air those secrets, according to published reports of the lawsuit.

“I understand that there are people that like my job and other’s that don’t,” Celaya told People en Español about the criticism against her. “Everyone has the right to their opinion. What I do want to say is that my interpretation is not an imitation ... there’s only one Jenni Rivera and I don’t want to replace her. I am telling her story.”

Telemundo’s 90-episode series “Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio” premiered in June and airs nightly through early December, leading up to the fifth anniversary of Rivera’s 2012 death.

We did a quick social media search and found a few snarky comments including from @5uzette who said “whoever decided to cast a skinny actress to play Jenni Rivera. you failed #MariposaDeBarrio.”

But mostly we found a lot of positive feedback including from Mayra Palos‏ (@palos_mayra), who tweeted on Aug. 3: “... This Jenni Rivera novela has me hooked !! its so good, im a big fan & this novela makes me be a bigger one #MariposaDeBarrio.” We also found one from a user called @ClubDeJenni — “@AngelicaCelaya love youuuuuu” — that the star responded to: “Love ya back ! #MariposaDeBarrio.”

Here are a couple others we found: @Vale19902 posted: “Crying over here with #MariposaDeBarrio heartbreaking what #JenniRivera had to go thru ... great job @AngelicaCelaya I got the goosebumps.” @nneeliddaa tweeted: “#MariposaDeBarrio has me missing @jennirivera.”

Celaya, who grew up in Tucson and graduated from Pueblo High School, is expecting her first child with boyfriend Luis García in October.

“Mariposa de Barrio” airs nightly at 8 p.m. on Telemundo.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter: @Starburch

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