Christian Serratos goes from fan to ‘Selena’ star

Christian Serratos, who stars as Selena Quintanilla in Netflix’s “Selena: The Series,” knows these are big shoes to fill.
An innovative singer and dynamic performer who brought Spanish-language Tejano music to a wider audience, Selena was just 23 when she was murdered by an associate in 1995.
Jennifer Lopez scored a major early career break playing Quintanilla in the 1997 hit movie “Selena.”
“I’m a huge Selena fan and grew up admiring her. I felt she was with me before the show and I think she’ll stay with me for some time after the show as well,” Serratos, 30, began.
“It’s been 25 years, yet she is still a potent presence because she was an impactful woman, an incredible talent with songs that were innovative.
“But I also think her humanity is what really connects people. She was a family woman, a Mexican American woman. So many people can see themselves in her and this family’s hard work.
“We’ll remember Selena for her joy and her humanity and not her murder.”
“Selena” is a personal triumph for Serratos, who at 30 is entirely convincing playing Selena at 16 as she began her star-making trajectory.
“As far as playing her at 16, I’ve had some experience being 16 years old at some point in my life,” Serratos noted drily. “I was trying to pull from my own experiences and just being as honest as I could.”
Best known as Rosita Espinosa in “The Walking Dead,” Serratos was practically a child prodigy, working professionally at 3 and signed as a Ford model at 7.
Roles on Nickelodeon and the “Twilight” series followed. Asked if she sees parallels with Selena, another showbiz kid, “Of course I found similarities. You have to create a path for yourself sometimes, especially when one is not being offered to you as a young woman or Latina.
“So her story spoke to me, yeah.”
For every child actor, there comes the time when it ceases to be “fun” or something to do and they have to ask themselves, is this my life, my job?
“I grew up in Los Angeles, it’s my hometown and when I left for Atlanta to shoot ‘The Walking Dead’ in 2014, it was kind of my first opportunity to be by myself, as an adult in another place.
“I think when I started that show,” Serratos said, “that I made the decision as a woman that I wanted to continue doing this.”
(“Selena: The Series” launches Friday on Neflix.)

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