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La usurpadora
Format Romance/drama
Starring Gabriela Spanic
Fernando Colunga
Opening theme La Usurpadora composed by Pandora
Country of origin  Mexico
No. of episodes 102
Running time 46 minutes (approx.)
Original channel Televisa
Original airing 1998

La Usurpadora (The Usurper) is a Mexican romantic drama telenovela produced by Salvador Mejia Alejandre and originally broadcast on Televisa in 1998. It starred Gabriela Spanic and Fernando Colunga. 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.



Paola and Paulina are twin sisters who were separated at birth. Paulina is a good young woman who lives in poverty. Paola is an evil stepmother of two who is married to a wealthy man named Carlos Daniel Bracho. When the twins cross paths by chance, Paola blackmails Paulina to take Paola's place in the Bracho home while she takes a year-long vacation with her lover. Abandoned by her fiancé Osvaldo and following the death of her sick mother, Paulina submits to Paola's plan.


Paulina Martinez, played by Gabriela Spanic, is a kind and thoughtful woman from Cancun, Mexico that is forced by her elder twin sister to take her place in the Bracho Manor as Carlos Daniel's wife. Paulina rises above the situation and wins over the love and respect of almost everyone who had previously hated Paola. However, Paulina starts to fall in love with the Bracho family and finds it difficult in her heart to leave. She eventually marries Carlos Daniel after Paola dies.

Paola Bracho, also played by Gabriela Spanic, is the twin sister of Paulina Martinez and the second wife of Carlos Daniel Bracho. She desires nothing more than money, luxury and freedom, and usually uses her feminine charm to get them. She is unfaithful to Carlos Daniel, who does not see her true nature for a long time. When she discovers her twin sister by accident, she uses this knowledge to ensure that she can have a year-long fling with her lover without being caught. She eventually returns from her holiday and accuses Paulina of deliberately usurping her position in the Bracho household. Her plans fail and she eventually dies in a car accident. She is later seen in flashbacks in Más Allá De La Usurpadora where she tells Paulina that she will die and they both meet in hell. (Paulina had just found out she got Cancer)

Paola Bracho towards the end of the series

Carlos Daniel Bracho, played by Fernando Colunga, is the husband of Paola after his first wife Elizabeth died, leaving him with two little children named Carlitos and Lizet. He is the youngest of the two Bracho sons. He is kind but indecisive, emotionally weak, and easily manipulated by others. He eventually falls in love with Paulina and marries her after the death of Paola.

Abuela Piedad, played by Libertad Lamarque, is Carlos Daniel's grandmother. She was an alcoholic until Paulina rescues her from it, making Piedad once again the powerful head of the Bracho Manor as before. She realizes Paulina and Paola have switched places, but accepts Paulina nonetheless.

Lic. Edmundo Serrano, played by Arturo Peniche, is the man who becomes Paulina's lawyer when she is accused of usurpation by Paola. He falls in love with Paulina, but she rejects his affections.

Estefania Bracho, played by Chantal Andere, is Carlos Daniel & Rodrigo's step sister. Her true mom is Fidelina.

Dona Chabela, played by Silvia Derbez, is the woman who rescues Carlitos.

Lourdes, played by Irán Eory.

Luis Felipe Benítez "Mojarras", played by René Muñoz.

Zoraida Zapata, played by Laura Zapata is the prosecutor in court at the trial of Paulina for usurpation.

Elvira, played by Azela Robinson, is Paola Bracho's personal nurse. Played by Azela Robinson.

Rodrigo, played by Marcelo Buquet is Carlos Daniel's brother. He manages the Bracho factory. His wife is Patricia Bracho.

Gema Durán Bracho, played by Dominika Paleta, is Carlos Daniel's cousin and is in love with him.

Luciano Alcantara, played by Mario Cimarro

Fidelina is Abuela Piedad's personal assistant. She is played by Magda Guzman.

Willy is played by Juan Pablo Gamboa, is Estefania's husband. He is also one of Paola's lovers and he abuses his wife.

Lalita, played by Paty Díaz, is Paola Bracho's personal assistant and confident. She used to receive tips from Paola when doing any special favor for her. She is also the maid in the Manor.

Paula, played by Nuria Bages,is Paulina's mom. She died after a long illness.

Last Lover, played by Sergio Basañez, Paola's last lover.



Carlitos Bracho,played by Sergio Miguel.


Gabriela Spanic has a twin sister in real life, Daniela Spanic, who is a 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 broadcasted 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 Spanic's soap 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.


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 Carillo.


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."

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