The true story behind Netflix’s Selena: The Series

Everything you need to know about Selena: The Series – Netflix's drama about one of the most successful female Latin artists of all time.

Selena: The Series

Arriving on Netflix next week is Selena: The Series – a musical drama about the life of Mexican-American pop star Selena and her journey to stardom.

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Produced by This is Us’ Don Todd and Selena Quintanilla’s family, the 10-part series dramatises the influential musician’s career, from her days singing small gigs to becoming one of the most successful female Latin artists of all time before her tragic death in 1995.

Here’s everything you need to know about Selena: The Series and the true story behind it.

When is Selena: The Series released on Netflix?

Selena: The Series arrives on Netflix on Friday 4th December. 

Selena cast: Who is playing Selena in the Netflix series?

Selena the Series
Netflix

Selena: The Series stars Christian Serratos as the titular musician; The 30-year-old is best known for her roles in The Walking Dead, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, American Horror Story and The Twilight Saga.

Selena’s father Abraham Quintanilla is played by Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives), while Seidy López (Resurrection Boulevard) plays Selena’s mother Marcella Quintanilla.

The rest of the cast includes The Purge’s Gabriel Chavarria (A.B. Quintanilla), The Young and the Restless’ Noemi Gonzalez (Suzette Quintanilla), On My Block’s Julio Macias (Pete Astudillo), Jesse Posey (Chris Pérez), Hunter Reese Peña (Ricky Vela), Carlos Alfredo Jr (Joe Ojeda), skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (Roger Garcia) and Mexican actress Erika Buenfil (Cristina Saralegui).

Who was Selena?

Selena
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Born in Lake Jackson (Texas) in 1971, Selena Quintanilla was a singer-songwriter who became known as the ‘Queen of Tejano Music’ – a genre of music which fused Mexican and Texan influences.

Selena first began singing at a young age, performing with her siblings in their father Abraham Quintanilla’s Tex-Mex restaurant. When Quintanilla’s restaurant went under and the family lost their home, they began a musical career together as a band, known as Selena y Los Dinos. They toured across South Texas, travelling to weddings and other gigs in their banged-up family van, according to People. When she reached eighth grade (Year Nine), Selena stopped attending school and the family band gradually became more successful.

In 1987, a 15-year-old Selena received a Tejano Music Award for female vocalist and performer of the year, which led to her recording six albums and earning a Grammy nomination after selling over 500,000 copies of her single Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love).

Selena quickly became the top-selling Latin artist of the 1990s, with her 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo peaking at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart and her singles Como la Flor and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom becoming certified hits (despite the fact that the musician actually spoke little Spanish – according to People, her brother would write the lyrics and she would learn them phonetically).

Aged 21, she married her band’s guitarist Chris Pérez in 1992.

What happened to Selena?

Selena
Getty

Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar – the president of her fan club and the manager of two of her boutiques – on 31st March 1995, just a few weeks before her 24th birthday.

Earlier in the month, Saldívar had been confronted by Selena’s father Abraham after fans began complaining that they’d paid their fan club enrolment fees but had not received promised memorabilia. After investigating the issue, he discovered that Saldívar had embezzled over $60,000 from the fan club and the boutiques through forged cheques while various bank statements had vanished.

On March 31st, Selena visited Saldívar – who was staying in a motel – at 7:30pm to discuss missing financial documents. The were heard arguing by guests before Saldívar shot Selena, who ran into the motel lobby, according to The New York Times. She was rushed to hospital but the gunshot wound proved fatal.

A police stand-off with Saldívar, who was sat in her pickup truck in the motel carpark, ensued, with Saldívar surrendering after 10 hours, The New York Times reported.

In October 1995, Saldívar was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in three years. She is currently incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville and will become eligible for parole in March 2025.

Selena: The Series trailer

Netflix released the first trailer for Selena: The Series towards the end of October, giving viewers a first-look at Christian Serratos as the Latin-American music star.

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Selena: The Series arrives on Netflix on Friday 4th December. Check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.