It's been 26 years since we lost the beloved Texas singer Selena, but Hollywood and her family have kept her story relevant for younger audiences. Jennifer Lopez first brought the Queen of Tejano music to the big screen in the 1997 biopic, Selena. But a new Netflix series has provided an even deeper look at the singer's rise to fame and eventual stardom. While both the film and the TV show are produced by Selena's family, there are definitely some differences between the two depictions of the late singer's life and career.
While the biopic spends the majority of the time focusing on Selena herself, Selena: The Series dives more into her entire family as well. You see their struggles as they rise together as a family band through Selena's rise to fame and ultimately, her untimely death at the age of 23. While the first season had a huge focus on Selena's early career, the second season will dive more into her marriage and her meeting Yolanda Saldívar, the woman who would eventually kill her. The new season is set to air on Netflix in May 2021 which is a fast turnaround...the first season was just released in December 2020.
While we wait for season 2, here's a look at the cast of Netflix's hit TV series alongside their real-life counterparts.
1. Christian Serratos - Selena Quintanilla
While Madison Taylor Baez plays Young Selena, Christian Serratos brings to life the iconic singer as an adult. Best known for her roles in the teen vampire films Twilight as well as The Walking Dead, Serratos feels incredibly proud to bring Selena's story back to the public eye.
"A young Mexican-American woman dominating her industry is a story that needs to be told," she told Good Housekeeping. "It's also about a hard-working Mexican-American family trying to accomplish their dreams for their child."
2. Ricardo Chavira - Abraham Quintanilla Jr.
Former Desperate Housewives star Ricardo Chavira plays the role of Selena's father and manager. Abraham initially had dreams of becoming a singer himself, but after he discovered Selena's talent as a young child, he created a family band that would change everyone's lives. As a native Texan himself, Chavira was already a major fan of Selena when he was cast on the show.
"I was born in Austin, raised in San Antonio, Texas. I knew everything about Selena's success because as it was happening, I was the same age," he explained to Good Housekeeping.
3. Seidy López - Marcella Quintanilla
Selena's mother Marcella, is played by Seidy López, who actually also appeared in the 1997 film as the singer's friend Deborah. Marcella Quintanilla has worked hard over the years to preserve the memory of her daughter and the legacy she left on the music industry. She even created The Selena Foundation, which works to help children complete their education.
4. Gabriel Chavarria - A.B. Quintanilla III
Selena's older brother is portrayed by Gabriel Chavarria, best known for starring in the SyFy series The Purge. Juan Martinez plays a young A.B. who grows into Selena's guitarist, producer, and songwriter. Chavarria explained to Good Housekeeping that he found out a lot about their relationship while doing research for his role.
"Once I started digging and doing research to play A.B., it was great to learn all these different things about who he is and what he meant to Selena and her family. He was her older brother, but he had this connection with her musically and you hear it in the music, you see it in the performances."
5. Noemi Gonzalez - Suzette Quintanilla
Selena's sister and best friend Suzette is played by Noemi Gonzalez, best known for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and The Young and the Restless. Daniela Estrada plays young Suzette. Suzette not only honored her sister's legacy by creating a Selena-inspired makeup line with MAC but runs the Selena Museum and Q-Productions.
"When Selena passed away, one of the three things she was working on was her clothing line, a makeup line, and a perfume line," Suzette explained to Refinery 29. "I promised myself that by the time I leave this world, I will accomplish what she started; what she held dear to her heart...She means so much to us."
6. Jesse Posey - Chris Perez
Actor Jesse Posey brings to life Selena's husband, Chris Perez, who remains close to the Quintanilla family to this day. The series dives into how the couple first met when Perez joined Selena y Los Dinos and ultimately how they ended up wedding in secret a few years later.
"The Selena story was not near and dear to my heart in the beginning, but once I got the role, I started doing a lot of research. I just tried to get a good feeling of what everyone else felt towards her, and that really drew me in. It felt special," Posey told TV Insider.
7. Julio Macias - Pete Astudillo
Backup singer Pete Astudillo was also a co-writer on some of Selena's songs including her massive hit, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Julio Macias is best known for starring in another Netflix series -- On My Block.
"It's a beautiful homage to Selena," Macias explained to People en Español. "She became such an icon so quickly and was then taken away from us. Praise J.Lo and everyone who made that first movie, but that was just a quick synopsis of everything Selena was, and Selena's story is about all of the Quintanillas."
8. Hunter Reese Peña - Ricky Vela
Keyboard player and songwriter Ricky Vela's music career ended when Selena lost her life. Hunter Reese Peña, who honestly looks a lot like Vela did when he was younger, posted on Instagram about how grateful he was for the opportunity to be included in such an iconic story.
"I'm thankful to @Netflix and everyone at Campanario Entertainment for giving a little Mexican American boy a shot at his big dream and entrusting me to bring Ricky Vela to the small screen on @selenanetflix. I'm grateful to Selena and everyone who comprised Los Dinos (on and off stage) for inspiring me every day."
9. Carlos Alfredo Jr. - Joe Ojeda
Another keyboard player, Joe Ojeda also remains close to the Quintanilla family, especially Chris Perez. Ojeda has even been supportive on social media of Carlos Alfredo Jr. playing him in the series.
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