Christian Serratos Reveals Why She Was Intimidated To Play Selena

Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla became a cultural icon both for her talent and her tragic death. In 1995, the 23-year was shot and killed by her former fan club manager Yolanda Saldívar, an event that shocked both her devoted fans and the world at large (via Biography). Quintanilla, who went by simply Selena, has been portrayed a number of times in the media, most notably by Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 biopic, Selena. The film earned Lopez a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and won a slew of other awards. Now, actress Christian Serratos is taking a stab at the iconic role in Netflix's new Selena: The Series.

You may recognize Serratos from her role as Rosita Espinosa in AMC's hit series, The Walking Dead. The 30-year-old also had a recurring role in the ABC Family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager, portrayed Bella's classmate Angela in the Twilight film series, and had various other guest roles in both film and television (via IMDb). But playing Selena is an entirely new challenge for Serratos. The actress recently opened up about how playing the Mexican-American pop legend, who was a pioneer in the music industry, came with a set of unique pressures. Not only is Selena revered for her artistry, but she's also credited with bringing Mexican music into mainstream pop, opening the door for so many artists after her.

Serratos grew up listening to Selena

It's certainly no easy feat to portray such an iconic figure, especially for a Selena superfan like Serratos. In a recent interview with People, Serratos spoke about personal connection to Selena — and why she was intimidated by the idea of playing her.

"I've been listening to her since I was way below single digits," she told the publication. "'Baila Esta Kumbia' (from Quintanilla's 1990 album Ven Conmigo), that was my song as a baby. Then it became my karaoke song as a teenager."

"It was really intimidating to audition and to play her," Serratos continued, "But I felt prepared in life to accomplish what I think we did on this show. I gave it everything I could."

Despite her dedication to the role, Serratos admits that at one point, she questioned her decision to take it on. "There was that moment where I thought: 'Do I want this pressure?'", she said in an interview with the LA Times. "I knew that getting this was going to be difficult for a slew of reasons," Serratos explains. "I had to really take such care and have so much respect for everything the fans love and everything that she was to her family. And I knew I was never going to make everybody happy. I knew that because she had that star quality. We all feel a sense of ownership when it comes to Selena — that's my homie, that's my family, that's my sister."

Selena: The Series premieres on Netflix today, December 4.