Selena Quintanilla Perez continues to be a icon and a role-model for millions of latinas. Twenty one years after her passing, Selena continues to be a role model and an inspiration. So what exactly is so inspiring about the beloved super start? Here is why:
She was humble.
Selena entered the Tejano music industry where only men were successful artists. She is referred to as the “Queen of Tejano” because of the fact that she was the first successful female tejano music star. Yet, despite her success she remained humble. The first house that she bought herself was actually near her old home were she grew up. She ended up marrying her first love Chris Perez who was a member of her band. And she was always grateful o her fans, making sure to take the time to sign autographs and take photos. While her fashion was extremely glamorous on stage, off stage she was the girl next door who would sport fun crop tops and jeans when she would go out and about. It just goes to show that you can remain humble in one of the most rigorous industries.
She had a passion for fashion.
Speaking of fashion, Selena was (and continues to be) a trend setter. She was not a stranger to fashion. Using Paula Abdul and Madonna, Selena incorporated high end fashion while mixing it with her Mexican roots. It was fun to see all of the outfits she would wear on stage. I enjoy that fact that she would design all of her stage outfits and eventually went on to open her own boutique. In regards to fashion, she was certainly before her time. Selena used high waisted pants during performances, maxi skirts, crop tops and custom designed dresses. And of course, her famous look of the bustier.
She was a hard worker.
Latino families know a thing or two about hard work. For many Latino families, life is very tough financially in the United States (or any immigrant fo that matter). Selena and her family knew that their success was not going to be an immediate thing. The Quintanillas worked hard to have Selena’s music and voice heard. That is what is so inspiring about Selena. Despite the odds, the singer worked hard to make sure that her dreams would become reality.
She was real.
She said what was on her mind when she had interviews. She loved to eat. She was not only an amazing performer, but she was a beloved friends, sister, and wife. While Tejano music is what sparked her career, she did not know Spanish has her primary language. English was her primary language. She did not try to hide the fact that she was not perfect at Spanish. Nonetheless, her fans loved her. In Chris Perez’ book “To Selena with Love” he shares that he and Selena were never experts in Spanish. Yet, the two did spend a lot of time practicing, to a point that Selena grew to know Spanish so well she had to slow down for her husband to understand her. She was truly a woman who wore her heart on her sleeve.
She embraced two wonderful worlds.
There are a lot of negative things that are said about Americans. And there are a lot of negative things that are said about Hispanics (boooooo). As a woman who is a proud American who shares Hispanic roots, I know there are a lot of positive things about being American and Hispanic. For one, Latinos love food. We love our families so much that many times, latinos have two or three sets of parents because we create bonds with our friends that are inseparable. Selena embraced her Mexican roots but ways also like any other American girl. She loved to eat pizza, loved trying new things, and followed the American dream. To some, the American dream is a two story home with a white picket fence. Latinos know that the American dream is a life of happiness in which you can enjoy your earthly treasures with the people that mean the most to you.
Jennifer Lopez actually got her big break as an actor when she plays the role of Selena when the film was produced in her honor in 1997. There are countless memes about JLO stating that she would not be famous of Selena was still alive. Frankly, I disagree and I feel that this is a negative (and terrible) thing to say. JLO continues to one of the most talented women not just in the music industry but as an actor and fashion designer. They are both extremely influential women in the Hispanic community. In fact, Selena Gomez’s parents admired Selena so much that they named their daughter Selena in 1992. I think that it’s safe to say that Selena Gomez lives up to her name by staying true to herself with body image and by being a positive role model to millions of girls around the world.
On this day, her family and fans remember Selena’s smile and kind spirit. I was four years old when she passed. But I will never forget that day when I saw her funeral service on TV (it’s one of the few childhood memories that has stayed with me). My parents were sobbing, as though they lost her daughter. I most definitely want to be like Selena, twenty one years after her death. I do not want fame, but rather, I want to leave a lasting legacy. A legacy that inspires women to follow and pursue their dreams, to be kind, and always stay true to who we are as person.