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Heroine’s Journey in “Queen of the South” Series

Teresa Mendoza

Similar to the Hero’s Journey, the Heroine’s Journey helps to understand a female character’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors at every stage of her identity’s development. Moreover, in a film or a series, this journey plays a highly essential role in the definition of its main message. Thus, a heroine’s journey starts from identifying her duality and the inevitable shift from the feminine to the masculine (Winkle, 2014). In Queen of the South, the duality of Teresa Mendoza is represented by her life in the Siete Gotas neighborhood, work as a money changer, and love for Guero (feminine) and escape to the United States joining the cartel (masculine). During the early stages, the heroine has to reject her femininity despite being highly attached to it in favor of masculinity, and this shift is frequently involuntary. Thus, in the series, after Guero’s death, Teresa is forced to survive and change her life.

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Later, fully dedicated to masculinity, a heroine starts her road of trials, a journey that changes her life completely. This implies either actual leaving of home or a radical change of activities. In general, a heroine aims to prove her strength primarily to others and herself as well. On the road of trials, she will be surrounded by masculine allies who do not accept her as one of them (Winkle, 2014). However, a heroine refuses to give up – she is full of determination to prove her right, win every battle with metaphorical or real monsters she will face, and collect all treasures and trophies (Campbell, 2008). At the same time, embracing masculinity, making all efforts to look masculine, and rejecting femininity, she cannot stay in touch with her genuine personality and inner self. In Queen of the South, Teresa works as a drug mule and faces multiple challenges – in particular, and she has to prove her loyalty to the cartel. As a result, she receives Camila’s support and strengthens her position in the criminal world.

The next stages of the heroine’s journey include success, failure and the understanding of spiritual aridity due to a lack of inner harmony and meeting with the Goddess. In the case of Teresa, she succeeds in her way to the position of the cartel’s leader; however, she subsequently has a conflict with Camila, who is determined to kill the woman to revenge for Epifaño’s death. At the same time, the Goddess, represented by the Queen of the South who exists only in Teresa’s imagination, accompanies her through all stages of the journey. Listening to the Queen, Teresa is becoming more and more confident and starts to represent her inner self in life as “a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World” (Campbell, 2008, p. 100).

Finally, the last stages of the heroine’s journey include an urgent need for reconciliation with the feminine, healing the split and wounded masculinity, integration and the balance of duality. Teresa, who has become a strong leader of the drug trafficking cartel, combines great strength and softness, an analytical mind and a kind heart. Je may be regarded as a survivor who has achieved the majority of her goals. She is resourceful and stubborn, thinks and reacts fast, may analyze a situation, talks less, and observes more. At the same time, she tries to help people, treating Tony with kindness, fights for beloved ones, refuses to take drugs, and hesitates to kill.

Camila Vargas

In the case of Camila Vargas, this heroine’s journey is probably not finished as it is not fully presented in the series. First of all, her duality is identified – on the one hand, Camila is the wife of Don Epifaño, the head of a drug cartel in Mexico, with whom she is married for several decades (Anderson, 2020). In addition, she is kind to Teresa and supports a young woman after she tests her loyalty – this is her feminine side. On the other hand, this woman is the head of the Vargas Cartel in Dallas engaged in prostituting women and cocaine and sex trafficking. Camila is a strong manipulative leader who cannot tolerate sexist comments and gender inequality – this is her masculine side. Thus, her husband’s death releases Camila’s vengeful nature, and a woman has to refuse her feminine sympathy and affection to become stronger and revenge Teresa.


As any person, a heroine may have several archetypes that reveal and develop in particular stages of development. In Queen of the South, it is possible to identify several main archetypes of Teresa based on Jungian psychology, including the Maiden, the Huntress, and the Queen. As a psychological archetype, the Maiden may be characterized by creativity and empathy; however, they are at substantial risk of emotional co-dependency and being involved in abusive relationships (Faines, 2021). As the Maiden, Teresa was strongly attached to Guero, promising to protect him; however, she did not represent the Lover as her relationship resembled dependency. Moreover, Guero tended to underestimate Teresa’s feelings with jealousy toward James. Guero’s death triggered changes in Teresa’s life that presupposed the change of an archetype to adapt to new conditions.

As the Huntress, Teresa aimed at her personal goals’ attainment. In her road of trials, she was forced to become a warrior who should pass through multiple challenges undistracted by others’ needs and opinions and competition and committed to final results. Finally, in her Journey, the Heroine turned into the Queen, a highly competent and confident woman with strong leadership skills. As the Queen, Teresa operates with intensity and flair, analyzes a current situation, and is detail-oriented. She has excellent communication skills, controls others, takes responsibilities, and creates paths for subordinates to follow it. At the same time, as it is impossible to achieve this archetype without inner power. Started as a hero in “a time of extreme danger, impediment, or disgrace,” Teresa has achieved her goals due to her inner strengths, the character of a survivor, and a rational mind (Campbell, 2008, p. 301).

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In the case of Camila, this heroine represents the Sage archetype that is characterized by rationality, intelligence, and a prevalence of analytical skills over emotions. In Queen of the South, Camila takes a very high position in the criminal world’s hierarchy and manages to keep it due to inner strength and refusal of any weakness. This archetype prevails in her private life as well – although Camila knows that her husband has multiple lovers, she prioritizes business and marriage.


Anderson, H. (2020). Queen of the South: Why did Camila become a villain on Queen of the South? Express. Web.

Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces. Princeton University Press.

Faines, A. K. (2021). An explanation of the 7 feminine archetypes. Women Love Power. Web.

Winkle, C. (2014). Using the Heroine’s Journey. Mythcreants. Web.

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