After the success of her previous album Paulina (2000), Universal Records decided the launch Rubio's career in the English market. Contributions to the album's production came from a wide range of producers and songwriters, including Cheryl Yie, Gen Rubin, Calanit Ledani, Daryl Zero, Jeeve, Kevin Colbert, Richard Marx, Brett James, Troy Verges, Jodi Marr, Rodolfo Castillo, Michelle Bell, Desmond Child, and once again with Estéfano and Christian Walden. Some of the songs from Paulina were re-recorded in English for Border Girl. The album spawned five singles, giving Paulina a number one hit on Spanish radio: “Baila Casanova”. Also, her first English-language single “Don’t Say Goodbye” is still her most well-known song in English; it saw a physical release in the United Kingdom. The Spanish versions of the album’s singles entered the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart.
Ken Micallef from Rolling Stone gave a positive review, rating the album four out of five stars, and saying "her taste for combining techno, pop and Mexican flavors quickly asserts her unique potential." Jose F. Promis of Allmusic stated that it "is a winning combination of different musical styles, successfully bridging pop, dance, hip-hop, rock, ballads, Latin, and even ranchera into one delicious package."
Jose F., from Allmusic, gave a very good review and rated the album four out of five, saying: Just like her blockbuster album Paulina (the biggest Latin album of 2001), Border Girl, Paulina Rubio's first foray into English-language musical territory, is a winning combination of different musical styles, successfully bridging pop, dance, hip-hop, rock, ballads, Latin, and even ranchera into one delicious package. The album opens with the first single, "Don't Say Goodbye," a feverish bit of Top 40 dance-pop, then quickly delves into the Latin rhythms of "Casanova," which is followed by the funky and melodic "Border Girl," whose underlying hip-hop beats only serve to make the song even more appealing. The album's true gem, however, is "The Last Goodbye," which bridges ranchera with a hip-hop beat and features one of the most memorable sing-song choruses in years. "The Last Goodbye" was one of the biggest hits from Paulina (originally titled "El Ultimo Adios"). Other hits from Paulina which are here in English versions include the rock ballads "The One You Love" and "Not That Kind of Girl" and the Hi-NRG dance ditties "I'll Be Right Here (Sexual Lover)" and "Fire (Sexy Dance)." Highlights include the gorgeous and breathy ballad "Undeniable," the funky and soulful "Stereo" (which features a rap), and, almost unbelievably, her version of the Kiss classic "I Was Made for Lovin' You." No matter how pop this album may lean, Paulina Rubio injects these songs with an undeniable and irresistible earthiness (and one heck of a sexy accent) and, in turn, makes Border Girl one of the most interesting and international pop albums of 2002. As a final note, the album closes with two new Spanish-language tracks, those being "Libre" and "Todo Mi Amor," as well as Spanish versions of "Don't Say Goodbye" and "Casanova" and the original version of "I'll Be Right Here" ("Y Yo Sigo Aqui").
The album debuted at #11 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 56,000 copies, becoming Rubio's highest charting album in the U.S. It was eventually certified gold, indicating sales of over 500,000 units. The album managed to become a top ten hit on the Canadian Album's chart peaking at #9. The album managed to chart on countries such as New Zealand, Dutch, Germany, Austria, Greece, Ireland, Russia and on the Swedish album charts where Paulina had not charted before. Border Girl also was number one in sales in Mexico. With this album, Paulina is introduced to the rest of the world and visits countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan to promote the album.