August 30, 2016 – HOLLYWOOD
By: Eliana Perez
Fans lined up Tuesday at Madam Tussauds Hollywood for the wax figure reveal of the influential Latina star, Selena. The first 300 fans there were guaranteed admittance to the reveal ceremony, where Selena’s family was also present.
Twenty-one years after Selena’s tragic death, people of varying cultures and ages showed up at the famous museum to see the figure in person.
Among the youngest of fans was Caroline Garcia, who at age seven, was not alive to witness a living Selena perform.
“I know about Selena because my mom taught me her songs and I liked them a lot,” Caroline explained. Her favorite is Selena y Los Dinos’ first big hit, Como La Flor.
Caroline's mother, Diana Garcia, shared why Selena is an important figure in her own life.
“Selena is part of my childhood and culture. She is a part of me that I can share with the next generation. I wanted to show my daughter how she was and how she lived because I think she was a great role model.”
Those alive when 23 year old Selena was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar still remember where they were when Selena died.
In Diana's case, "Selena died when I was nine. I was getting home from school and my mom told me, 'Look mija, Selena died.’ I saw [on the television] and I yelled 'No!'"
Today, Diana and Caroline Garcia lined up at 4 a.m. to ensure their spot at the ceremony for Selena's figure reveal more than 12 hours later. "I read about the event on Chris Perez's official Facebook page and planned a mother-daughter date," Diana said.
Once inside, Selena’s sister, Suzette Quintanilla, brother, A.B. Quintanilla III, and husband, Chris Perez, took to the stage where the figure remained hidden.
A.B. Quintanilla, who penned most of Selena y Los Dinos' songs, stated, “None of this is possible without the fans. Selena will have a spot next to Michael Jackson and Elton John, next to all the icons. You made this happen," referencing the online petition that took off a year ago, asking Madam Tussauds to grant Selena a place in the wax museum.
The petition reached just under 10,000 signatures, enough for Madame Tussauds to take notice and get to work. The figure took eight months to create.
"Today, it's Hollywood. Next, we can have a Selena at the Tussauds in Las Vegas, in New York, until she's everywhere," A.B. continued.
Several fans, of all races and genders, were dressed as Selena. Hundreds of dedicated admirers at the ceremony sang along to Selena's songs before the stage went silent.
A wave of gasps, “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s” were audible when the curtain finally dropped to reveal the character. Some fans were visibly tearful before a man close to the stage yelled, "¡Selena vive! (Selena lives!)" and the crowd erupted in applause.
Suzette, A.B., and Chris began to share anecdotes, both of Selena's life and of the making her wax figure.
"You would think she would do it with more time, like two weeks before or something, but Selena was always putting her outfits together the day of the show,” A.B. described, “She let out a scream from the back of the bus, 'I don't have enough stones to finish my bustier for the night!' That's why you see the design," pointing to the left cup of Selena's famous bustier.
The figure modeled the stone-studded, black and purple outfit Selena wore during her 1993 Selena Live! performance, recorded for the album of the same name that ultimately earned her a Grammy award.
Fans agreed the figure looked like the real Selena and many were pleased with the results.
"I know the half up, half down is one of her hairstyles as well, but I wish her hair was left down,” Zakaiyah Williams opined, “The outfit is nice. She looks beautiful."
"[The figure] is cool for her fans, especially the younger generation that wasn't around when she was out there, doing her thing, and we were doing the concerts. It's something to get them a little closer to her, along with her music and the movie," Chris Perez, Selena's husband of over two years, said. "Thank you for helping keep her music and her legacy going and passing it on. Mothers are passing it on to their daughters … and their sons."
A.B. credited Suzette with overseeing the figure's creation.
"It's my sister so to me it looks a little too real; it looks like her," Suzette shared. She reminded people that, "Selena's favorite color was purple," like the attire chosen.
A Selena line of Mac Cosmetics is in the works and set for an October 2016 release. It is another fan-petitioned project in memory of Selena, reassuring everyone that Selena vive.