This story is part of , our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.
During the ’80s and early ’90s, Selena Quintanilla, better known by her singular pop-star name Selena, broke down gender barriers in Tejano music and rose to become the Queen of Tejano. Selena’s talent and drive meant commercial success, fame and awards at an early age. In 1994, at 23 years old, she won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Album. Sadly, though, she was shot and killed the following year. Her life, career and legacy are covered in the new Netflix show Selena: The Series.
Noemi Gonzalez, who plays Suzette, Selena’s sister and drummer, was our guest onand talked to us about why it’s necessary to revisit Selena and her life in 2020.
“It’s really important for a new generation to know who she is. I think Latinx representation is incredibly important, especially right now to show that we’re all human,” said Gonzalez. “We all want the same pursuit of happiness. And a lot of us can relate to this truly being a story of the American dream. And I hope this continues her legacy in a way that I think is absolutely necessary.”
To find the character of Suzette, Gonzalez learned how to play the drums for the series. She also took time to transform herself both physically and mentally for the role.
“I not only learned the drums, but I cut and permed my hair. I also gained more weight for the role. I was already on the heavier side for Hollywood standards, and to really make sure that I embodied everything, I changed my general appearance,” said Gonzalez. “And then I got into the wardrobe, which doesn’t have lycra to help easily put jeans on. It really helped to feel how uncomfortable and how stylized people were in the ’80s.”
Suzette Quintanilla is a producer on the series and during our conversation, Gonzalez explained how she dealt with the pressure of playing her while Quintanilla watched. Gonzalez also discusses her time on the Hulu series East Los High and being on The Young and the Restless as well as in the films Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and The Tax Collector.
Listen to my entire conversation with Gonzalez on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can watch Selena: The Series on Netflix. Also, you can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.