HBO Max's Veneno, a coming of age story about identity and friendship, centers two of Spain's most influential trans women: entertainment idol Cristina "La Veneno" Ortiz (played at different times by Jedet, Daniela Santiago, and Isabel Torres) and journalist Valeria Vegas (played by Lola Rodriguez), both of whom are real people. In fact, the series' narrative is taken from Vegas' biography of Ortiz titled Not a Whore, Not a Saint: The Memories of La Veneno.
As detailed in the show, the pair became friends when a young Vegas traveled to Valencia to meet her idol, Ortiz, who ultimately inspired her to begin her own transition. The experience bonded them and the pair remained close into Vegas' adulthood until Ortiz died in 2016. Now, Vegas is an idol in her own right; an accomplished journalist, activist, and director. She also collaborated with Veneno showrunners Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi to ensure the accuracy of the portrayals of Ortiz and herself.
"We knew that to tell Cristina’s story, we would need a fresh set of eyes to help us understand the impact her life had on people," Ambrossi explained to EW. "Once we were in the process of scriptwriting, the real Valeria told us her life story ... [It] gave us the perfect way to tell this incredible story about such an important figure."
In an interview with Spanish publication Vanitatis, Vegas called working with the pair "fabulous" — she even makes a cameo in the first episode. But it wasn't her first TV gig — she directed the 2016 documentary Manolita, La Chen de Arcos, which was awarded best Spanish documentary at LesGaiCineMad 2016. She's also a regular contributor to Vanity Fair and various Spanish talk shows.
Veneno only focuses on Vegas' adolescence and transition, as it's more focused on spotlighting Ortiz's life through her eyes. But it's clear there could be a whole new series about Vegas' life, too.