'Selena: The Series' creator visited Corpus Christi, Quintanilla family to prep for show
When creating a Netflix series about Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s life, Moisés Zamora wanted to inspire the younger generation with the hardworking spirit of the Quintanilla family.
Zamora, the creator and executive producer of “Selena: The Series”, said he was brought onto the project when producers were looking for a writer to help them with the series.
“I thought it was an incredible opportunity,” Zamora told the Caller-Times. “Selena has left an incredible legacy for the newer generation. She was alive when I was growing up and to me, she still represents, along with the Quintanillas, how a Mexican-American dream can achieve such incredible height.”
"Selena: The Series" premieres on Netflix on Friday, Dec. 4.
In working on the series, Zamora wanted to take an inspirational, wholesome angle on the Quintanillas' story.
Zamora said he was in awe of how hard the family worked to make their dream come true, something he says is relevant for many Latino families today, including his own.
“They were sometimes denied opportunity and instead of giving up, they created their own opportunity,” he said. “I look at Selena and how entrepreneurial she was. Abraham hits close to home … he’s like a father figure in a sense because that’s how the men are in my life. Driven, determined, firm but loving.”
Zamora said he met Christian Serratos, who plays Selena in the series, before she was cast. He said he felt she had the spark, charm and spirit of Selena.
Zamora said the Quintanilla family opened their home and the Selena Museum to him during his research for the series.
During that time, Zamora said, he learned details that helped shape the series.
“It almost felt like every piece (in the museum) told its own episode. That was really wonderful,” Zamora said joyfully. “(We saw) some of her designs, her fashion sketches. Of course those incredible iconic outfits that we know Selena wore. It just felt like ‘Oh, this is so incredible’ because we get to replicate this and tell the story behind it as much as possible in a two-part series.”
Crews even took several photos of items in the museum to make sure the outfits and other elements were done right, he said.
Zamora and the crew also wanted to make sure they got the sense of Texas and Corpus Christi right.
The show had several Texan writers to ensure its portrayal of growing up in Texas was authentic, Zamora said. The crew spent time in Molina, the neighborhood where Selena and her siblings, Suzette and A.B., grew up.
“Throughout the series, you’ll see, hopefully, we don’t shy away from the times in South Texas. What it means to grow up in Corpus Christi and the neighborhood,” Zamora said. “It’s important, because the Latinos and Mexican-American community in Texas are not the same Latinos that are in California or Chicago.”
In speaking with the Quintanilla family, Zamora said he found Selena never left the working-class neighborhood in Corpus Christi and stayed close to home, a trait common in many Latino and Mexican-American families, including his.
“She never denied her roots and background, on the contrary, she embraced it,” he said. “That shows me the type of humility and gratefulness that we all could benefit from going forward. That’s why she inspires the new generation.”
Zamora said he sees Selena as a beacon of light and a role model in a world that has few Latino role models, especially Mexican-American women.
“I felt that Selena’s story, as well as the Quintanillas', was one of those incredible stories that are part of American history that needs to be told,” Zamora said.
Alexandria Rodriguez covers breaking news and crime in South Texas. Support local news by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe