The release of Netflix's Selena: The Series (opens in new tab), the first authorized biopic of Selena Quintanilla since the beloved 1997 J.Lo movie, has sparked a huge wave of renewed interest in the late Tejano singer. Case in point: Not only did the show stay consistently at the top of the Netflix charts after its Dec. 4 premiere, but Selena re-entered the music charts, too, with her Ones album of greatest hits returning to the Billboard 200 the week of the show's release. With part two's release on May 4, the series is expected to re-enter Netflix's top 10.
Of course, there are countless Selena fans in the U.S., Mexico, and beyond who have never stopped listening to "Como la Flor" and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" in the decades since their debuts. Arguably the biggest of these lifelong fans is Suzette Quintanilla, Selena's older sister and former bandmate, who has devoted most of her life to commemorating Selena's legacy, including, most recently, by serving as an executive producer on Selena: The Series. Here's what Suzette has been up to since her sister's career was cut short by her tragic 1995 death (opens in new tab), and how she feels about the latest onscreen portrayal of her family's story.
Where is Suzette Quintanilla now?
After giving up drumming in 1995, Suzette focused her attention instead on preserving her sister's legacy. Now 53, she's the CEO and president of Q Productions, overseeing the Quintanilla family's record company, the management of the Selena Museum in their native Corpus Christi, Texas, and coordination of licensing for ventures like the best-selling Selena MAC Cosmetics collection. The company has also put on various Selena tribute concerts over the years, including one that was scheduled for May 2020, almost exactly 25 years after Selena's death, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suzette was also in attendance alongside the rest of her family at the 2017 ceremony during which Selena was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and which set records for the number of fans in attendance. She spoke last (opens in new tab) at the ceremony, ending by quoting her sister: "The goal isn't to live forever, but to create something that will."
Earlier this year, when a second MAC collection was announced, Suzette shared that she's driven by a desire to help achieve the goals Selena had for her life. "When Selena passed away ... the three things she was working on was her clothing line, a makeup line, and a perfume line," she told (opens in new tab) Refinery29. "I promised myself that by the time I leave this world, I will accomplish what she started; what she held dear to her heart."
And the continued success of projects like the makeup line, tribute concerts, the Selena Museum and more "[shows] me and my family that Selena and our music has made an impact on people, and that she will forever be loved," Suzette told (opens in new tab) Popsugar in 2017, adding, "The most important thing ever to my family is that she's not forgotten."
Is Suzette still with Bill Arriaga?
In episode eight of Selena: The Series, a twentysomething Suzette, played by Noemi Gonzalez (opens in new tab), is shown being instantly smitten with Bill Arriaga, played by Christian Escobar. That wasn't just onscreen chemistry: Suzette and Bill went on to marry in 1993, and are still together today. They have one son, Jovan, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Selena, according (opens in new tab) to his proud mom.
What has Suzette said about Selena: The Series?
By all accounts, she is over the moon about the Netflix show that she helped create. In the days ahead of its premiere, she shared a photo (opens in new tab) on Instagram of a billboard advertising the show in Corpus Christi, writing, "This series is not the movie, it's more. It's all about our life and the grind to get there when it seemed unattainable."
She continued, "I'm grateful for this huge platform we have been given on Netflix. This type of opportunity DOES NOT HAPPEN TO LATINOS often... okay hardly ever if you really wanna know! Not one season... but 2 seasons about a Mexican American family from Texas who worked their asses off and NEVER gave up. Who can relate to that ? Each of you reading this! We all have dreams and we all have goals and even though Selena is not here it does not change this story."
And on Dec. 5, after the series had been out for just 24 hours and, in that time, almost immediately shot straight to the top of the Netflix rankings, she wrote (opens in new tab) on Instagram, "Waking up and seeing this is insane and Beautiful! THANK YOU THANK YOU for this love you have always given to our family."
Since the part 1 of the series dropped, Selena was honored with a Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Grammy Awards. In an Entertainment Tonight (opens in new tab) interview before the Grammys, Suzette said that she is in awe of how the world continues to embrace her sister thorough the Netflix series and her music.
"There's a new generation that's embracing Selena. She is a great representation of who we are as Mexican-Americans. She's a great role model. She is an amazing singer, performer. You can't ask for more than that...We live in a time, also, where I have the luxury of going online and I can look at her. Most people that lose loved ones, they don't have that," she said.
Suzette also told Entertainment Tonight (opens in new tab) that part 2 of the series will get into some of Selena's past family and relationship conflict, which was difficult for the family to relive. "There's some moments that personally I don't want to revisit. It brings up some really weird feelings inside. So, it's just a little bit of everything, to be honest with you," she said.
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Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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