Soraya serves as a prominent antagonist and is characterized by violence, jealousy and emotional instability.
She was portrayed by Itatí Cantoral.
Concept and creation
Soraya Montenegro was conceived by Mexican producer Valentin Pimstein as the antagonist of the first story arc of María la del Barrio, a remake of 1979 telenovela "Los ricos también lloran". Soraya is loosely based on Esther Izaguirre, one of the villains of the old telenovela, but with considerable changes to her background, origin and mental state. Pimstein originally intended Soraya to die at the end of the first story arc. Nevertheless, he brought her back stating that Thalia needed a strong counterpart that could test her role as the heroine of the story.
Soraya Montenegro is the wealthy and evil niece of Victoria Montenegro de la Vega. She likes Luis Fernando and intends to get married with him, but he falls in love with María instead. However, she manages to marry Luis Fernando by faking a pregnancy, and escapes when it is revealed that she was not pregnant after all and also tried to poison Maria. She attempts to kill her accomplice before he turns her in, but falls from the apartment and is presumed dead.
Soraya counts on the help of her faithful squire, Nana Calixta, who is his accomplice in his evil plans. Soraya treats Calixta with contempt and constantly humiliates her, though the witch treats her with the greatest love in the world. And that soon after would reveal that it was his motherDuring her absence, María and Luis Fernando get married. María gives away her newborn son, Fernando, while suffering a mental disorder. She reunited with him, now nicknamed "Nandito", fourteen years later. It is revealed that Soraya had not died, and was taken to the United States for a long recovery. She gets married with Oscar Montalban, and arranges a car accident to inherit his money. However, she must remain the stepmother of Oscar's daughter, the disabled Alicia, and keep her nanny Esperanza. She moves back to Mexico to resume her vengeance plots against María and Luis Fernando, but falls in love with Nandito. Infuriated when Nandito falls in love with Alicia instead, she attacks him and Esperanza, leaving him near death and causing her amnesia. She kills her mother Calixta and frames Nandito, but María takes the guilt and goes to prison. María is eventually declared innocent, but Soraya captures her and takes her to a wood cabin, with the intention to burn it down with María inside. María is rescued by Luis Fernando, but Soraya dies instead in the fire.