If you're thinking
Mexican soap opera, you're on the right track. Stylistically, and often
thematically, telenovelas share many of the characteristics of
American soaps, and are hugely popular in the Spanish-speaking world. But they're
also big in Africa, Asia, Brazil, French-speaking Canada, and, for
some reason, Croatia. Turns out a ton of them are made in Miami,
where Rojas lost her six-and-a-half-year battle with cancer on February 16.
A native of Mexico
City, the 19-year-old Rojas got her start in the 1990 Mexican production Alcanzar una estrella ("To Reach a
Star"), about a teenager, coincidentally named Lorena (not played by
Rojas), who meets her idol, a telenovela
star–turned–pop singer. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Rojas would eventually
parlay her own televsion fame into a singing career.
A sequel followed a
year later, then a succession of parts for Mexico's Televisa network,
culminating in her first lead role, in 1996's Cancion de amor ("Love Song"). Art would again
foreshadow life; her character died of cancer.
Unlike our soaps,
telenovelas have a beginning, a middle, and an end, at least most of the time.
Rojas's 1998 starring vehicle ("Temptations"),
about a woman who falls in love with a priest, was pulled in mid-run due to its
Having touched on the
beginning and middle of her career, you can probably see where this is going.
Apparently the role
Rojas coveted most was that of mother. Doctors could not explain her inability
to conceive, and repeated attempts at adoption ended in failure. It was in
2008, while undergoing tests in hopes of getting pregnant, that she was
initially diagnosed with breast cancer. A subsequent surgery was deemed
successful—aren't they always? But leg pains sent her back to the
doctor in 2012; the disease had metastasized to her bones. Still, through
treatment and recurrences, she persevered with her dream of motherhood,
culminating with the birth, in Mexico, of a little girl named Luciana on
October 6, 2013, then a final, agonizing two weeks to make sure the biological
mother didn't change her mind.
2014, advancing illness had reached her liver, a plot twist duly
noted in these quarters.
Only 44, she left
behind a boyfriend, a one-year-old daughter, a worldwide following, and an