- "Women in this business... we cannot afford to look weak."
- ―Camila Vargas[src]
Camila Vargas is one of the main characters and anti-villian in Queen of the South. She is portrayed by actress Verónica Falcón. She is the wife of Epifaño Vargas, and mentor turned arch enemy of Teresa Mendoza. She serves as deuteragonist in Season 1 and a major character turned final antagonist in Season 2, the secondary antagonist turned anti-hero in Season 3.
She and her husband Epifaño were married for 25 years and they had a daughter named Isabela. She studied to be a dancer when she was Isabela's age3x03.
She was the leader of the Vargas Cartel in Dallas. The Vargas Cartel engaged in sex trafficking and prostituting women as well as cocaine trafficking.
After her husband's death, Camila became the Governor of Sinaloa. She uses her resources to hunt down and kill Teresa for killing Epifanio.
Camila's downfall is that she is full of pride. She doesn't like that other people see her as weak and she can barely tolerate sexist comments. She's vengeful and intense, and she trusts in her instincts, which she says are seldom wrong. Camila has affairs with other men she meets in her business dealings.
Camila is always playing mind games and she is very good at picking out her enemies' weaknesses. She is skilled in the art of manipulation. The only person who nearly always sees through this is her husband, who knows her very well due to their long marriage.
- James Valdez: Her second-in-command. James is very loyal to Camila and she knows that she can trust him. He wordlessly saved her life when there was a hit out on her and she has trusted him ever since. Camila and James respect each other a lot, however James manipulates Camila to protect Teresa and Camila realizes that she has lost James's unquestioned loyalty while making attempts to put James and Teresa at odds. After James rescues Isabela from her kidnappers, they part ways on very good terms, with James receiving seven million dollars from Camila as payment.
- Teresa Mendoza: Teresa works for Camila and though she is hesitant to trust Teresa, she respects her. Camila protects Teresa initially as she is interested in the information Teresa has against Epifanio. Later Camila lets Teresa to be a partner in the business and starts grooming her so that she can reach her full potential. Camila makes sure to tell Teresa that she does well after every job. Camila sees herself in Teresa and is certain that one day Teresa who shows signs of being soft, will become as ruthless as Camila. Camila has her lawyers set up double ownership documents for her trawler company that implicate Teresa as owner. Teresa uncovers the betrayal and their relationship falls apart. Camila and Teresa have several showdowns whereby it becomes clear that Teresa considers to have seen only cruelty and betrayal from Camila. Teresa kills Epifanio in self defense and Camila is never able to forgive her. She chases and kills Guero to revenge Epifanio's death.
- Isabela Vargas: Camila's daughter. Their relationship is rocky given that Isabella thinks that Camila chose the cartel over her and that her father is getting out of the cartel after becoming governor. Isabela hates that her mother left her for a year and has become a daddy's girl during that time. Isabela and Camila seem to be on a truce of sorts after the death of Epifanio, which ends when Cortez convinces Isabela that Camila had Kique killed. In return, Isabela reveals publicly that her mother is a cartel leader, forcing Camila to flee Mexico and go into hiding.
- Epifaño Vargas: He is unhappy with Camila's success in Dallas as he wants to keep his wife under his thumb. He is unwilling to recognize any of her achievements in building the business. As such he cuts off her cocaine supply in secret, thus putting the lives of many men in danger numerous times. Epifanio is so egoistic that he destroys his Mexican operation, killing his sicarios, when he gets elected for Governor to stop Camila from taking it over. Epifanio and Camila unite when their daughter is kidnapped, however, their relationship is bitter and they are presented as anti-couple. His death at the hands of Teresa spurs Camila on a revenge arc.
- Eric Watson: Camila resents the Birdman because he's infringing on her business and preventing her from taking over all of Texas. This animosity grows when Eric sells her clients cocaine when she cannot provide the product. She sends John's brother after him, telling him that Eric is responsible for the death of John. The brother fails in killing him. Camila orders James to kill Eric despite not having permission to do so.
- Cesar: Cesar serves as Epifaño's right hand. She has him brought to her after the police officers in her pocket rescue Teresa from his kidnap attempt and offers Batman a chance to join her, but he tells Epifaño all that he learned about Camila when he was in Dallas.
- Alberto Cortez: Cortez works for Camila when she is Governor of Sinaloa. Their relationship is one of mistrust and deceit as they both try to outsmart each other. Camila's motives are to keep General Cortez in line to assist her in the narco biz, while Cortez's purpose is to remove Camila and take over the narco trade. Cortez uses her daughter Isabella and her fiance Kique Jimenez to trap Camila.
- Boaz Jimenez: Boaz is broken out of prison by James under Camila's orders to please his brother Manuel Jimenez, however Boaz does business with Epifanio, who sells him the Vargas Cartel upon being elected, while Camila has no compunctions being in office and being in the narco biz. As such she wants to take the Vargas Cartel back and that puts her at odds with Boaz. The fact that Isabela Vargas and Kique Jimenez, their respective children are engaged to be married, complicates the relations between Camila and Boaz.
- Guero Davilas: Camila knows Guero from his work for Epifanio and despises him for being a thief and snitch. She calls him the rat that left Teresa for dead numerous times. Camila lets him live only because Guero is able to put them in contact with El Santo and her operation is truly in need of a new supplier. To avenge Epifanio's death by Teresa's hand, Camila has Cortez kidnap, torture and imprison Guero, where he finally dies when attempting to escape.
- Detective Alonzo Loya: Camila and Loya meet when Teresa calls Loya to arrest Camila to save her from Cortez who is on his way to kill her. Camila and Loya cooperate and share information regarding Teresa, when she becomes a fugitive. Camila and Loya become lovers and part in season 3 on good terms.
- Cole Van Awken: Cole is the managing partner of the legal firm representing Camila and he takes her case after her lawyer Teo Aljarafe is murdered. Cole is married to Kelly Anne, but he cheats on her with Camila, with whom they find many common interests.
- Reynaldo Fieto: Reynaldo is the Vargas Cartel Colombian supplier. He is loyal to Epifanio, but he genuinely cares for Camila, calling her 'mi muneca' - 'my doll' and he supports her biz in Dallas behind Epifanio's back. Reynaldo agrees to supply product to Teresa when asked by Camila and in exchange ensures Camila's wellbeing and protection.
- Castel Fioto: Castel is the niece of Reynaldo Fieto, the second in command in the Colombian cartel. She is young and ambitious, and she does not approve of Camila's old fashioned methods. The two women butt heads numerous times. After taking out her uncle, Castel captures Camila and brings her to Teresa where Teresa spares her life and sends her in exile.
Quotes from Camila
- Since you're so good at being a girlfriend, I'm going to make you a girlfriend to a lot of people. -Camila to Teresa, telling her that she's going to be forced into sex trafficking
- You know this Mendoza girl? Keep an eye on her. I think she might be more useful than I thought. I want you to talk to her. You need to get her to trust you. Tell her, if she's thinking of running away, she shouldn't. If she's thinking of going to the police, they will send her to the ICE, and they'll ship her right back to Mexico, and sooner, rather than later, my husband will find her. Tell her, if she wants to die, she should run. If she wants to live, she should stay with me. -Camila to James, telling him to convince Teresa to stay with her
- Everything my husband has, I helped him build. So if you're afraid of him, you have to be afraid of me too. -Camila to Teo
- When life gave you a choice about what to do with the man that stole from us, you chose mercy. That was the wrong choice. Women in this business, we cannot afford to look weak. Don't ever make that mistake again. -Camila to Teresa
- Women are vengeful by nature. -Camila to Batman, in Spanish
- I just want you to understand that a woman can be strong and successful and independent. You know, these things you're gonna learn to appreciate as time goes by. -Camila to Isabela
- I'm going to find my way back to you. It's not because I don't love you, okay? In this world, Isabela, you have to be strong. I'm strong. And I want you to be strong. I love you. I love you, bonita. -Camila to Isabela
- You see, Jaime, all my life, men have underestimated me. I've grown used to it. See, most men are very basic creatures. They can't seem to see beyond my legs. So sometimes I use that to my advantage and others, I just depend upon it. -Camila to Jaime
- There can only be one Queen!. -Camila to Teresa
- Women in this business we cannot afford to look weak. -Camila to Teresa
Quotes about Camila
- Epifaño says that Camila was always very good at making people uncertain of where they stand.
- You are a sensational woman... and a mother. -Epifaño to Camila
- Camila Vargas is a cold-blooded criminal who uses loyalty as her currency. Only way out is with a bullet. It won't even be her that pulls the trigger. -Agent Finnerman
- "She goes for what she believes in. She fights, she's a fighter, she's a warrior, those are interesting qualities. She's hardworking, she's loyal, and those are good qualities even though the character is a villain." -Verónica Falcón
Camila Vargas firmly believes that she built the Vargas cartel and that it would be nothing without her. She was very upset with her husband for trying to reduce her role in the cartel when it would never have gotten where it was without her.
That being said, Camila is still a mother, and she would do anything for her daughter. She told Isabela that she went to Dallas to show her that women could be strong and build something of their own. She wants to be a good example to her daughter, but her daughter doesn't see it that way.
- She has a goddaughter named Anita1x02.
- She has DEA agents in her pocket. She uses DEA agents to stage a kidnapping of Teresa so that she can test Teresa's loyalty to her1x03.
- Camila purchases four luxury vehicles1x04 to send to men on Epifaño's side of the cartel, putting suitcases full of cash in the trunk by way of bribery.
- Camila and Epifaño keep the same photo of a young Isabela on their desks.
- Her husband says that her biggest flaw is that she can't let shit go1x06.
- She tells Batman that going back to Mexico and back to her husband would be 'death' to her1x08.
Writers' Comments on Twitter
- The day of the Diez de Copas premiere, Jorge Reyes tweeted 'When Camila smokes a cigarette, you know she’s feeling herself again.'