Known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” Selena Quintanilla was a beloved Mexican-American recording artist and is still considered one of the greatest Latinx icons ever — 25 years after her death. Her extraordinary stage presence inspired many A-listers in the music industry, and now, on Dec. 4, a series based on the singer’s life is coming to Netflix.
Christian Marie Serratos stars as the music and fashion icon in the series, which explores Selena’s journey from singing small gigs to becoming the most successful female Latin artist of all time — and the years of hard work and sacrifice in between that the Quintanilla family navigated together.
Serratos, a Mexican-American actress best known for her role as Rosita Espinosa in AMC's The Walking Dead, shares her thoughts on portraying the music icon with Yahoo Entertainment, explaining that she wants people to both understand the life of a hardworking Mexican-American family and to see the joy for life that Selena had.
Stepping into the role, Serratos knew she had big shoes to fill — especially since Jennifer Lopez had been the only person to portray Selena, in 1997’s Selena: The Movie. “I am such a fan of what Jennifer did in the first film, I grew up watching that film, I knew that Jennifer's shoes were big, Selena’s shoes were big, and I was going to have to show up and do my job,” she says.
Serratos describes her experience preparing for the role — which happened as she continued to work on The Walking Dead — as one of self-discovery. “I was learning more about the legend and more about myself,” she says. “As [Selena] practiced Spanish as a kid, I was practicing Spanish to play her… It was such a journey for us to find that legend together.”
Being in the industry, just like Selena, Serratos felt like she could relate to her character in many ways. “Selena had to fight a lot for people to understand that she wants it all,” Serratos says, adding that she also admires the icon’s tenacity as a Mexican-American woman in entertainment. "So often, we don't think of being able to be the leader of our own story or center of our universe, just like our rages, but things are getting so much better,” she says.
Serratos says she is honored to pay homage to the icon through her role. “I am so proud to be able to play somebody who wanted to have same experiences as me, whom I grow up admiring… and so proud that the first lead acting moment that I am having is to play Selena. Such an honor.”
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