Back when Jennifer Lopez was still earning her keep as a back-up dancer picking up a few acting roles here and there, another Latina triple threat was tearing up the charts and on the verge of taking over the nation.
At the time of her death in March of 1995, Selena Quinanilla-Pérez had 12 studio albums under her belt, a Grammy on her mantle, a clothing line in her own boutiques, and a cameo in a film starring Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando, and Faye Dunaway wrapped up. Referred to as the “Mexican Madonna” by Tom Brokaw, the 23 year old Tejano singer helped pave the way not only for the subsequent “Latin Invasion” that swept the country a few years after her death, but also was years ahead of the curve when it came to celebrities who were singers/actresses/designers.
Like most of the non-Spanish speaking population in this country, I fell in love with Selena when watching the 1997 biopic starring Jennifer Lopez in her breakout role. Before the film I had only vaguely heard her name and remembered seeing her picture somewhere, but after watching J-Lo do the washing machine in a studded bustier while lip synching to Selena’s music, I had to learn more. As captivating as J-Lo’s performance on the screen was, Selena’s voice and presence on stage was even more so. Between the dazzling costumes that gave both Janet and Madonna a run for their money, dance moves that would make Debbie Allen pause, and a voice that sounds great in any language, Selena was more of a performer than half of the so-called pop sensations ruling the charts these days and twice as stylish.
True to the early 90’s style, Selena rocked a killer set of acrylic nails, a bold red lip, crop tops galore, and hoop earrings when not busy on stage in sparkling bustiers, high-waisted leggings, and sick heels. She was also the poster child for curvy girls, with thick thighs, hips, and a butt, long before Bootylicious entered our vernacular. Elements of her signature look can be seen today on everyone from Gaga and Rihanna to Beyonce and the star who owes most of her fame to Selena, Jennifer Lopez.
With this year marking the 15th anniversary of her death, hopefully new fans, fashionistas, and aspiring performers will turn to her for inspiration instead of the over cited stars of today.
Layout by Sarah B
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