|Created by||Ines Rodena|
|Written by||Inés Rodena
|Directed by||Beatriz Sheridan
|Opening theme||"La usurpadora" by Pandora|
|Country of origin||Mexico|
|No. of episodes||102 + Màs allà de la Usurpadora|
|Producer(s)||Salvador Mejía Alejandre|
Jesus Acuna Lee
|Running time||46 minutes|
|Original network||Canal de las Estrellas|
|Original release||February 9 – July 24, 1998|
|Preceded by||María Isabel
|Followed by||El Privilegio de Amar|
La Usurpadora (Literally: The Usurper / International Title: Deceptions or Paulina) is a Mexican romantic drama telenovela produced by Salvador Mejia Alejandre and originally broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas from February 9 to July 24, 1998. It starred Gabriela Spanic and Fernando Colunga, and was based on La Intrusa, a novela originally broadcast in Venezuela which was itself a remake of Radio Caracas Television's 1971 telenovela La Usurpadora, which was starred by Marina Baura and Raúl Amundaray. This was one of the last telenovelas to feature Libertad Lamarque, who here portrayed the character of Abuela Piedad Bracho. The show's premise revolves around a pair of twin sisters who were separated when they were young, and as adults the younger sister is forced to act as a "replacement" for her wealthy twin who wants to temporarily leave her husband and his family to enjoy a life of luxury with multiple lovers. The telenovela had huge success in Mexico with ratings of 38.4 and has been exported and ported to various languages across the world.
Gabriela Spanic has a dual role as the protagonist/main antagonist, Fernando Colunga starred as the protagonist. Chantal Andere, Dominika Paleta, Mario Cimarro and Juan Pablo Gamboa starred as the antagonists.
Yadhira Carrillo as special guest antagonist at Mas Alla de la Usurpadora
Paola and Paulina are twins who were separated at birth. Paulina is a good, honest woman who lives in poverty and is engaged to a simple man, named Osvaldo (who is seeing another woman). Paola though rich, is a frivolous, evil woman who has many lovers, including her brother in-law Willy. She is married to a wealthy man named Carlos Daniel Bracho. When the twins cross paths by chance, Paola attempts to convince Paulina into taking her place in the Brachos' house, so that she can take a year-long vacation with a new lover, Alessandro. At first, Paulina refuses because she can't leave her mother who is deathly ill; but is later blackmailed and forced to take Paola's place after Paola puts her bracelet in Paulina's purse and accuses her of theft and threatens jail. Paulina, abandoned by her fiancé Osvaldo and after the Death of her mother, with nothing left in life to do submits to Paola's plan. Paulina, unaware of the destruction the Bracho household was under (thanks to Paola) decides to work throughout the year righting all wrongs. She strives to convince everyone that she is a "changed woman" and a "new person". During the year, Paulina falls in love with Carlos Daniel. She cures Abuela Piedad (who suffered from Alcoholism),saves the Bracho factory from financial ruin, and cuts ties with all of Paola's lovers. No matter how hard she tries, she can't make peace with Estefania (Carlos Daniel's sister) because the real Paola had an affair with Willy, Estefania's husband. Nonetheless she continues to try to make amends.
Paulina, being the honorable and decent woman that she is, refuses to be intimate with Carlos Daniel telling him that she needs a year due to her "illness". Carlos Daniel, unaware she is not really Paola, resents her and falls back into the arms of Gema, Paola's frienemy, who is always trying to seduce Carlos Daniel, encouraged by Estefania, who detests "Paola".
Meanwhile, the real Paola is in Monaco living it up and partying with Alessandro, a very wealthy man. One night after a party, Paola, convinced she is in a dream, gets in a car crash with Alessandro in the passenger seat. They end up in a hospital in Monaco. Paola, after months and multiple surgeries, recovers but her lover Alessandro ends up paralyzed and is bound to a wheelchair. Paola, no longer interested in him, plans her return to Mexico to take back her place as the real Paola Bracho.
Paola's plan is discovered and Paulina escapes from Mexico, but Carlos Daniel's son, Carlitos, tries to find Paulina, who he thinks is his real mother, but with a broken foot, he falls from a hill, smashes his head on a rock, and loses his memory. An old lady finds him and cures him.
Paola returns and brings even more chaos: she find out that Carlitos is missing and Paulina is found. Eventually, Paulina hears about Carlitos and returns to the Bracho House. Paola went to travel the world with her famous lover Douglas Maldonado, so Paulina pretends to be Paola again because Carlos Daniel's grandmother Abuela Piedad does not want Paulina to go to jail. Paulina tells the whole family that Carlos Daniel hated Paulina at first, but after finding Carlitos, they both share their secret love for each other. Three of Paulina's enemies: Estefania, her husband Willy, and Gema, Estefania's cousin, eventually stop this. Gema and Willy contact the Police. Willy beats Estefania up and she is hospitalised. Estefania doesn't turn Paulina to the authorities, after Paulina donates blood to Estefania and her baby. Estefania later reconciles with Paulina.
On the same day, Paola eventually returns, pretending to be paralysed, trying to take her rightful place back. The next day, Paulina is arrested. While in prison.Paulina and Carlos Daniel get furious when they discover a mysterious letter: "A letter to Paulina". This letter was written by Paulina's mother, before she died. In the letter, it is explained that Paola and Paulina are twins but separated at birth. Paola is caught standing on her feet, putting on make up, by her nurse Elvira. Paola tells her she will give her money to keep her mouth shut. When Paola finds out that Paulina is her twin, she gets furious. Many men come forward to help hire a lawyer for Paulina, so she can be free. Later, Paulina is cleared of all charges in the court of law. Paola decides to go to the Bracho house with Elvira. Paulina takes Carlitos to her hotel to avoid Paola, so Paola stays in a wheelchair to prove that she is disabled.
Returning to her old ways, Paola inflicts damage on the family and on Paulina. Later, the whole Bracho family is Horrified to see Paola walk. Later on, Elvira tells the whole family the truth about Paola never being paralyzed. Paola overhears this, so she and Willy set out to get revenge on Paulina, Carlos Daniel, paulina's lawyer because she was set free. They also plot to kill Elvira for being a traitor.So Paola takes Elvira away to kill her but, while the car was at a high speed, Paola reveals to Elvira that she overheard her telling the family that she was never paralysed and for being a traitor she is going to die, Elvira scared takes control of the steering wheel to the opposite direction, the car loses control whilst speeding up. In the ensuing struggle for control of the steering wheel between both women, the car hits a wall and rolls violently down a hill with Paola and Elvira in the car. At the bottom of the hill, the car lands and explodes... Carlos Daniel arrives to the Bracho house.Farmers discover the wreckage of the car and the body of Elvira. Paola however was found alive far from the wreckage but in a critical state . The ambulance arrive and Paola is taken in as Emergency. Everyone later finds out about Paola's car accident Some are left shocked and some like Estefania and Gema are glad that this has happened and now all they want is for her to die...
Paola was transferred to a Central Hospital. There, Paola told everyone the truth about her plan with Willy. The police arrest Willy and was sentenced to over 20 years. He was also convicted for trying to sell his son. Paola apologizes to her Twin sister and when the Bracho's arrive to the Hospital, Paola enters Coma and with her critical situation no doctor can help her, and everyone is left to watch her slowly die. Everyone knew the death of Paola cleared the way for Paulina to marry Carlos Daniel, so when Carlos Daniel proposed to her, she accepted. The couple finally lived happily ever and finally there was happiness in the Bracho family.
Gabriela Spanic has a twin sister in real life, Daniela Spanic, who is a Venezuelan model. Daniela was approached by the producers of the show to appear in one scene where Paola and Paulina physically fight, as the sequence would have been too difficult to achieve by camera trickery. La Usurpadora was nicknamed in Spanish, "The queen of the ratings" while broadcast for Univision in 2000. Although the Mexican telenovela garnered massive ratings, it received no awards from the yearly award shows. La Usurpadora wasn't the first of Spanic's telenovela playing twins, she had already played two identical women in Como Tu, Ninguna but they were non-relative as in La Usurpadora. She played the roles just in the last stage of the story. Gabriela later starred in Televisa's 2001 La Intrusa where she once again took on roles similar to La Usurpadora, except both sisters were good characters.
A remake, ¿Quién Eres Tú? (Who Are You?), premiered on the Unimás network (formerly Telefutura) as part of its relaunch. It starred Laura Carmine and Julian Gil. It premiered on January 7, 2013, but was removed from the network's lineup a week later due to poor ratings. It was replaced in its timeslot by a rebroadcast of Rosario Tijeras. Only ten episodes were aired on Unimás. Although the network has not made an official statement as to the telenovela's fate, it is presumed it has been cancelled.
La Usurpadora was followed by a two-hour special, Más Alla De La Usurpadora which is set a year after the events of the original telenovela. Again produced by Salvador Mejia Alejandre and directed by Beatriz Sheridan, it starred many familiar cast members, including Gabriela Spanic and Fernando Colunga, and introduced a new character, Raquel, played by Yadhira Carrillo.
Paulina and Carlos Daniel are blissfully happy with their new baby girl, Paulita. Problems arise when Paulina falls ill and consults a doctor who tells her that she has cancer and will die in a few months. Paulina keeps her illness a secret from her family, but asks Raquel, Paulita's caregiver, to marry Carlos Daniel after she dies. Raquel, who has been secretly in love with Carlos Daniel, is delighted. When Paulina lets Abuela Piedad in on her secret, Abuela Piedad insists that her family deserves to know. Paulina has a panic attack, and sees a vision of Paola in a mirror, telling that she will see her in hell for robbing her of her family. When Carlos Daniel learns of her illness, he comforts Paulina and decide to make the best of the time they have remaining together. Raquel cannot wait to take over Paulina's role, so she puts poison in Paulina's wine. Paulina drinks and immediately faints, but Raquel faints as well. Both women are taken to the hospital, where they learn that Paulina is not sick, but is in fact pregnant. However, Raquel has accidentally swallowed the poison; she seeks forgiveness and eventually makes a full recovery. Back at the Bracho home, Carlos Daniel and Paulina reveal the happy news to everyone. Overjoyed, the family takes a picture and it says "And they lived happily for the rest of their lives". The credits roll, and the audience cheers.
|Gabriela Spanic||Paulina Martínez de Bracho / Paola Montaner de Bracho|
|Fernando Colunga||Carlos Daniel Bracho|
|Libertad Lamarque||Piedad Bracho|
|Chantal Andere||Estefania Bracho de Montero|
|Marcelo Buquet||Rodrigo Bracho|
|Dominika Paleta||Gema Durán Bracho|
|Mario Cimarro||Luciano Alcantara|
|Juan Pablo Gamboa||Guillermo ‘Willy’ Montero|
|Paty Díaz||Lalita Perez|
|Alejandro Ruiz||Leandro Gomez|
|Giován D'Angelo||Donato D'Angeli|
|Anastasia||Viviana Carillo de Gomez|
|Jessica Jurado||Patricia de Bracho|
|Antonio De Carlo||Osvaldo Resendiz|
|María Solares||Lisette Bracho|
|Sergio Miguel||Carlitos Bracho|
|Nuria Bages||Paula Martinez|
|Ninón Sevilla||Cachita Cienfuegos|
|María Luisa Alcalá||Filomena Tamayo|
|Enrique Lizalde||Alessandro Farina|
|Adriana Fonseca||Veronica Soriano|
|Raquel Morell||Carolina Carrillo|
|Javier Herranz||Dr. Varela|
|Arturo Peniche||Edmundo Serrano|
|Miguel de León||Douglas Maldonado|
|Silvia Derbez||Chabela Rojas|
|Silvia Caos||Cenobia Rojas|
|Irán Eory||Lourdes de Reséndiz|
|René Muñoz||Luis Felipe Benítez "El Mojarras"|
|Rebeca Manríquez||Genoveva Sarmiento / La Tamales|
|Humberto Elizondo||Silvano Pina|
|Andrea García||Celia Alonzo|
|Laura Zapata||Fiscal Zoraida Zapata|
|Consuelo Duval||Macrina Olvera|
|Fernando Torres Lapham||Fulgencio Mendive|
|Oscar Morelli||Juez Castro|
|Hector Parra||Lic. Juan Manuel Montesinos|
Awards and nominations
|Best Telenovela||Salvador Mejía||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Gabriela Spanic||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Fernando Colunga||Nominated|
|Best Male Antagonist||Juan Pablo Gamboa||Nominated|
|Best Co-star Actress||Chantal Andere||Nominated|
|Best Co-star Actor||Marcelo Buquet||Nominated|
|Best First Actress||Libertad Lamarque||Nominated|
|Best Direction of the Camaras||Jesús Nájera
- FERNANDO COLUNGA, Agradecido con el público por la aceptación de su trabajo en "La Usurpadora" (in Spanish)
- Hoy se cumplen 16 años de "La Usurpadora" con Gaby Spanic (in Spanish)
- Lo que pocos sabían de la inolvidable telenovela La Usurpadora (in Spanish)
- Gabriela Spanic Bio (in Spanish)
- "Quien Eres Tu Canceled"
- Más allá de la usurpadora (1998)
- Premios TVyNovelas 1999