Call of Duty’s murderous villain is the internet’s newest thirst trap

It says a lot that in a Call of Duty campaign that includes the highly anticipated reunion of iconic series regulars like Captain Price, Soap McTavish, Gaz, and Ghost, the Modern Warfare 2 character seeing the most buzz is actually its most murderous villain. Valeria Garza has captured the undivided attention of the CoD community, with some already calling for her to become a playable operator(opens in new tab) in multiplayer. And, yes, it’s because people are thirsting over her.

Note: Modern Warfare 2 campaign spoilers below.

Garza is a new face in the Modern Warfare-verse—she’s the anonymous head of the El Sin Nombre cartel and ruthless ruler over the fictional town of Las Almas, Mexico (where much of the campaign takes place). She’s also ex-Mexican army and an old friend of new Team Price member Alejandro, who is understandably upset to see that she’s used her military experience to become a powerful crimelord. Garza is undeniably among the evilest characters in a roster that includes corrupt generals, PMC war criminals, and aspiring terrorists. She is also hot.

You could chalk up Garza’s popularity(opens in new tab) to her appearance (and judging by fancams already cropping up on TikTok(opens in new tab) it’s certainly a factor), but it’s a bit deeper than that. Despite only appearing in a single mission and a few cutscenes, Garza leaves a lasting impression on a story dominated by dudes with gruff voices. She’s an imposing presence in her titular mission, “El Sin Nombre”, in which Alejandro, Soap McTavish, and Soap’s 2009 mohawk infiltrate the El Sin Nombre headquarters to identify and capture the organization’s faceless leader. Soap is questioned by Garza (believing that she’s only a cartel general, not the head honcho herself) and the player is forced to answer trivia about the whos and whats of the story so far to not get shot in the chest. Actor Maria Elisa Camargo, who also did Garza’s performance capture, really owns the scene and plays the good cop/bad cop interrogator well.

Camargo herself is having a blast interacting with Garza’s unexpected fanbase, even embracing her thirst trap status.

“Such an honor to feel accepted by the Call of Duty community, I respect you,” she wrote in an Instagram post(opens in new tab) yesterday. “Amazed and overwhelmed with all the comments in my social media (I read them ALL), memes, ‘mommy’s and smart/detailed reviews about my performance.” In an earlier post, Camargo described her foray into videogame acting as “a completely new and challenging experience on set, and SURREAL times with the most loving, kind and badass team of super talented people from all over the world!”

Personally, I’m still holding a candle for Farah Karim: the calm, precise, and vengeful freedom-fighting protagonist of the previous Modern Warfare campaign. Karim returns briefly in Modern Warfare 2 to help Captain Price take down a convoy of terrorists, but unfortunately it’s the worst mission in the game.

I fully expect Infinity Ward to take notice of Garza’s growing fanbase and react accordingly. If there wasn’t already a Valeria skin in the works, it’s probably coming. The enthusiasm speaks for itself.