Our princess wouldn’t wear just any old gown. Too basic. Instead, she’d wear a shimmering bustier she designed on her own. She’d make it pink. She’d make it blue. She’d make it gold and red and silver, too.
Oh, and she’d wear a few jumpsuits here and there. Why not?
See, from an early age, the princess would have demonstrated that she was special, different from the rest.
Credit: Disney / mitú
She’d have been bestowed very special gifts from The Three Fairies (obviously named Bidi, Bidi and Bom):
The gift of song.
The gift of kindness.
The (very important) gift of being able to pull off wearing a jumpsuit.
And, the gift of DANCE!
Credit: Disney / mitú
But things are not always easy just because you’re a princess. Sometimes, she’d find herself balancing between two very different worlds. Is she Mexican enough for the Mexicans, American enough for the Americans? Without a doubt, she’d be 100% Tejana throughout.
And even when times were tough, she’d wouldn’t need this whole “Prince Charming” business. She’d save herself.
Of course, that doesn’t mean our princess wouldn’t recognize true love when she sees it.
Credit: Disney / mitú
Her loyal subjects would honor her across the land and throughout generations.
The less said about witches, the better. They don’t deserve our time.
See, the truth is that “happily ever after” doesn’t happen as easily as in fairytales. But no matter.
We can still have our princess, we still have romance and we still have fairytales real life stories that inspire us to dream a little bigger.
It’s been 21 years since La Reina was taken from us, but we love her just as much, if not more, than the day we heard her music for the first time. But it wasn’t just her music that made us fall in love with Selena. It was moments like these:
Like, how she would always give credit to her fans for making her famous.
“We just dish out the music and they’re the ones who buy it,” she continued in this interview at the Corpus Christi Coliseum.
She was so down-to-earth and NEVER shy about showing her post-concert smeared makeup. ???
She was flawless no matter what. Amiright?
Just like us, she was a total fangirl when she saw her favorite stars at award shows.
She was more concerned with meeting her favorite celebrities and you can see the joy on her face just talking about it.
No matter how big or small the interview, Selena always stood up for the ladies.
Early in her career, she was just trying to learn Spanish like a lot of first-gen Americans.
Understandable mistake, right?
Even when she wasn’t being interviewed, Selena showed the world how caring and helpful she was.
She probably worried more about others looking good on camera than herself.
She was always so candid on camera, it felt like she was literally your next door neighbor.
Even when Don Francisco tried to say Marlon Brando was fat, she awkwardly and expertly gave praise and avoided the question. #Grace
And, even when her star was rising, she remained humble and grateful for everything she got, like her GRAMMY.
She also said during the interview that she was not expecting to get the award. QUEEN!
When she brought Tejano music to mainstream America and proved women are capable of anything.
Before Selena Mexican-American music was considered an eccentricity and was definitely not played in non-Hispanic clubs and radio stations. Speaking about the experience of being a Latinx signer, Selena once said “Tejano music was hard for us because I was a girl. My dad had a lot of problems while trying to set up shows for us or presentations because there are a lot of men who don’t think that women can get the attention of the public. But . . . wrong!” No doubt the Texas-born singer changed these harsh attitude during her life and after her untimely death.
When she showed how much she adored and valued family.
Selena might have gained worldwide notoriety in her own right, but long before she was just Selena she had a career as part of the Quintanilla family group Selena y Los Dinos, where her two older siblings also made pompas shake. Like the rest of us, familia was always important to Selena and she never forgot her origins and the role that her family had in her success. Speaking about the struggles she was grateful for enduring with her family, Selena said “We went through a hard time, and we had to turn to music as a means to putting food on the table. And we’ve been doing it ever since. No regrets either.”
Every single dang time she showed pride for her heritage.
Singing in Spanish when you’re not fluent can be a pretty challenging act in itself if you want to break into the mainstream, and Selena was unapologetic about her efforts to do so. “I feel very proud to be Mexican,” Selena once said in an interview about her culture. “I didn’t have the opportunity to learn Spanish when I was a girl, but . . . it’s never too late to get in touch with your roots.” Many singers and actors of Latino origin change their names for a more English-sounding or a more neutral one. But not our Selena. She didn’t look for a fancy name and good on her: Selena is such a powerful, defining name that shines on any billboard.
And knew that not all women are straight-sized and many have curves.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, but it has long been dictated by mass media which has, in so many cases, severely distorted our perceptions of women’s bodies. Selena was proud of her curves. Eso mija, eres una fregona. “I’m very real, very sincere, and honest, and that’s how I’ll always be,” the star once said in an interview.
When she had a unique style.
Amidst the customary images and selling points of whitewashed media and the current political turmoils of today, it can be hard for a Latina to feel confident in her identity. Selena did so with aplomb. Her wardrobe choices were interesting and daring in equal measure, which is probably one of the reasons behind her success as a pop culture brand. She was criticized by more conservative audiences for “revealing too much”. We say al carajo con sus juicios. Still, the Tejano singer stayed strong her opinions about her self, saying once, “Always believe that the impossible is always possible.”
And when she showed that Latinas can be captains of their fate as well as the fiercest activists.
“What I don’t like are arrogant people. We’re all equal. I don’t like it when a person assumes to be better,” Quintanilla once stated in an interview. Her posthumous campaign with cosmetics giant MAC demonstrated that Latino women in particular and women of color, in general, could and should carry campaigns. She was beautiful and the world needed to see that.
And never to be forgotten: the time when she was active in her community and said “All I need to do is try and do the best that I can do.”
As a minority, solidarity is key for the Latino community in the United States, particularly today. Selena embodied community values and never forgot her fellow Mexican-Americans. Certainly an example we should all follow. She grew up in Texas, where migratory patterns and backwards thinking about race make various segments of the Hispanic population feel vulnerable. Power to the people!
And when her power was undeniable.
Not that a proud Latina needs validation, but even conservative former president George W. Bush couldn’t help but deny the impact of her legacy. Before he was President G.W.B was governor of Texas. He declared Selena’s birthday National Selena Day, a day in which Latino identity and cultural legacy are celebrated. She was bigger than Tejano music itself, and her death was a day for mourning all throughout her home state. In the picture, we can see the Texan queen with legendary actor Marlon Brando.
Because she gave us another Latina star: J-Lo
Selena continued to give even beyond the grave. In 1997 Warner Bros. released a much-hyped biopic in which the boricua diva Jennifer Lopez shined and became a star in her own right. The circumstances are sad but fate gave us two proud Latina queens. And yes, we will never have enough Latina stars will we? Donde cabe una caben mil.
And she urged children to stay en la escuela (don’t drop out, escuincles!)
“Music is not a very stable business. You know it comes and it goes, and so does money. But your education stays with you for the rest of your life.” Selena knew how important education is for minorities in the United States, and that hard work and academic development are the only way for the community to strive. She constantly visited schools and urged young chamacos not to drop out. Respect.
Because she was an independent self-made woman “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.”
She was young but life taught her that all you have is yourself. We can’t believe she was just 23 when she died. Truly wise beyond her years.