Makeup line shows enduring appeal of late singer Selena Quintanilla

Selena made Latin music history with her 1995 album, "Dreaming of You."
(Dave Einsel / Associated Press)

Two decades after she was killed, Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla might be more popular than ever.

Jennifer Lopez performed a tribute to her at Billboard’s Latin Music Awards, a San Diego company is creating a digital embodiment of her and Mac Cosmetics just announced plans for a Selena makeup line after an online campaign drummed up 37,000 signatures.

A search of her name on YouTube turns up hundreds of videos, many viewed millions of times. Among the most popular are makeup tutorials demonstrating how to look like the singer, whose music still gets airplay on radio stations across the country.


MAC Cosmetics began negotiating with the Quintanilla family over the makeup line, to launch next year, after fans started a petition drive in February on the website. The company did not release financial details of the deal.

“This is one of the things she used to talk about when we were in the [tour] bus chilling out in the bunk area,” her sister, Suzette Quintanilla, said of the new makeup line. “I’m not going to lie, it brought me to tears because this is something that I know she would be really proud of.”

Suzette Quintanilla played drums in Selena’s band Los Dinos, which performed with Lopez this year in a Latin Music Awards tribute to the Tejano singer 20 years after her death. Lopez portrayed Selena Quintanilla in a 1997 movie.

The film chronicled the fast rise of Quintanilla, who won a Grammy for Mexican American album in 1994. A fashion icon often compared to Madonna, she opened two boutiques in Corpus Christi, Texas, and San Antonio that featured beauty salons and her own clothing line.

Quintanilla was 23 when she was gunned down by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, who was accused of embezzling money from the boutiques and fan club. Saldivar is serving a life sentence for murder in Gatesville, Texas.

The singer died as she was crossing over from the Tejano music scene to a mainstream audience. The release of her English language album, “Dreaming of You,” climbed to the top of the Billboard 200.


Twenty years after the killing, audiences might get a chance to see Quintanilla perform again in a digital reincarnation.

San Diego-based Acrovirt said it is developing a virtual-reality walking, talking, singing and dancing Selena. The company plans to unveil the digital Quintanilla next year singing her hits “Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti” and “No Llores Mas Corazon” and a newly released English-language song.

The company says the technology is more advanced than the computer-generated Tupac Shakur image that appeared at the Coachella music festival in 2012. They are working with UC San Diego researchers on the project, but the company and the scientists declined to give details.

The project has gotten the attention of HBO. The company confirmed that a documentary film is in the works, but gave no further details.