Selena: The Series, a new show streaming on Netflix, is renewing the onscreen journey of Selena Quintanilla, the beloved Tejano musician. The story captures the superstar’s rise to fame, and as fans very well know, her influence as a style and beauty icon.
Christian Serratos plays the leading lady in the Netflix series, and while her resemblance to Selena is uncanny, Serratos worked with a talented glam squad to help recreate Selena’s signature hair and makeup throughout her early years.
“The goal was to capture the different moments and ways Selena played with her look,” Cristophe Salon Beverly Hills master stylist and Selena’s hair creator Matthew Burton tells MODERN SALON. “It was her only way of expressing herself because she was with her family 24/7. Her family was really conservative and lived in a conservative part of the United States – experimenting was her way of showing that she was her own individual.”
The docuseries features short hair, curly hair, a pompadour, an asymmetrical perm and more exploratory styles as a young Selena figures out who she wants to be and how she wants to portray herself. Burton notes that the hair and makeup team received a bunch of photos from Selena’s family that went behind the scenes into her personal life, helping to create the 1980s and ’90s cross-cultural time capsule that comes to life in the show.
When designing Serratos’ wigs, Burton used a few go-to products to help recreate Selena’s famous textures, bangs and perm phases. “I had the opportunity to link up with Oribe, and their Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray was a lifesaver,” he says. “To get the perm curls to frame the face we had to go in with the smallest curling iron you’ve ever seen, and the Soft Spray was the best for locking in curls. It has heat protectant in it, so we weren’t overworking the wigs.”
Burton also used the Cristophe Volumizing Spray Tonic to rework curls without them getting too heavy, Oribe’s Rock Hard Gel for slick looks, and Got2b Glued Freeze Blasting Spray to keep everything set.
Selena: The Series presents historically accurate styles the star wore, but lead makeup designer for the docuseries and MAC Cosmetics senior national artist John Stapleton took things a step further and actually incorporated makeup Selena owned while she was alive. The archival looks in the show emulate Selena’s bricky red lips, winged liner and matte textures, as that was mostly what existed in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
“Selena was a big MAC fan,” Stapleton says. “MAC was one of the first brands that was for all races, all ages, all genders.” For that reason, Serratos was able to wear heritage Russian Red, Chili and Marrakesh lipsticks that were available at the time and are still sold today.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Serratos often did her own makeup guided virtually by Stapleton – but this unique circumstance in fact paid tribute to Selena, who was her own hair stylist and makeup artist. Being responsible for the makeup gave Serratos control of her look before she would walk “on stage,” and we see that ability highlighted in the series as well, of having artistic control of your image. “Selena was a person who liked to change and experiment, who wanted to have some control of what she did,” Stapleton explains. “I love that that’s so explored in the show.”
Undoubtedly, Selena broke down barriers in music and beauty alike. While Selena’s early style and beauty inspiration was very Madonna, Whitney Houston and Lisa Lisa, as she gained fame, she started developing her own identity and true look. “There was a time when every girl at my high school wore Selena’s bang,” Burton says. “Her going through that process of discovery impacted girls everywhere and helped them have a voice.”
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