Celebrating Selena: Fotos y Recuerdos

The Selena Museum

Discover Selena Quintanilla: Mexican-American music & entertainment icon, fashion trendsetter, passionate entrepreneur, and community philanthropist - thanks to images from the Quintanilla family

The Life and Legacy of Selena Quintanilla

Born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971, Selena’s talent shone from an early age. Strumming Nat King Cole’s “I’m in the Mood for Love” on guitar, Selena’s Father listened to his daughter sing along, and immediately knew the bright future before her.

With encouragement from their father, nine year old Selena and her older siblings A.B. (guitar) and Suzette (drums) formed the beginnings of the Tejano sensation Selena y Los Dinos. Born in Texas, Tejano music (or “Tex-Mex”) blends Mexican and American sub-genres like pop, polka, ranchera, and cumbia. Widely popular across the TX/Mexico border since the 1800s, Selena y Los Dinos’ infectious brand of Tejano music popularized the genre to audiences globally.

First playing at the family restaurant, quiceañeras, and fairs, the band’s humble beginnings - including sitting on equipment due to the lack of formal seating in their inaugural tour bus “Big Bertha" - eventually led to high profile touring. But they also fought through hard times and adversity. In fact, Selena was frequently discriminated against in the male-dominated music genre, and some venues even refused to book the band for shows.

Despite all this, Selena’s talent, energy, and perseverance easily won the hearts of a rapidly growing fan base. In 1986 she was awarded the Tejano Music award for “Female Vocalist of the Year,” catapulting Selena y los Dinos to Tejano stardom. Other milestones followed, solidifying Selena’s legacy as “The Queen of Tejano.” She released her first studio album with Capitol EMI (self-titled “Selena”) on this day in 1989, consistently straddled the top of the billboard charts, and won a Grammy for best Mexican/American album of 1993 -- the first female and youngest Tejano artist to win the award.

The Outfits
Selena was also much more than a talented musician. A fashionista and trendsetter, she often designed and created entire outfits for her performance wardrobe. In her free time, she was also active in community service, including being a strong advocate for education.

This iconic jumpsuit was personally designed by Selena in her favorite color, purple. It was worn during her last major concert in the Houston Astrodome on February 26, 1995. The purple jumpsuit features bell bottoms and rhinestone broches at the side of both knees and at the front of the removable jacket.

This iconic white dress was worn by Selena at the 36th annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1994 - the night she won her first Grammy for Best Mexican/American Album. The white halter dress features white and gold beading from top to bottom, with an ornate design hugging the bodice.

This iconic outfit was worn by Selena at the photoshoot for her fourth studio album, "Amor Prohibido," released on March 13, 1994. The outfit includes: a white, lace-lined ruffled blouse, leather jacket and pant combo, and black high heel boots. She completed the look with her signature gold hoop earrings during the shoot.

Considered a fashion trendsetter and icon, Selena often designed and created elements or entire outfits of her performance wardrobe. One iconic element of these outfits are the ornate bustiers she would wear. The pink bustier pictured was hand beaded by Selena and was worn during one of her Texas tours.

The Favorites
Selena's favorite car and her Grammy award for Best Mexican/American Album are among some of her most prized possessions housed in The Selena Museum. Both help display her personality and talents to visitors and fans around the world.

This red 1986 Porsche Targa was Selena's favorite car.

In fact, Selena purchased a newly released, black Porsche hatchback at first, but after some time, felt it wasn't right for her.

She then traded the hatchback in for this Porsche Targa shortly after, even though it was an older model!

Selena won the Grammy for Best Mexican/American Album of 1993 for her album "Live!" at the 36th annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1994. The album was recorded during a free concert at the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 7, 1993.

The award marked many firsts: not only was it her first Grammy, but she was also the first female Tejano artist to receive the award. To this day, Selena is the youngest artist to receive the award in this category.

Selena's Legacy
Selena became a beacon of inspiration and hope for the Latinx, immigrant, and bicultural communities around the globe. Her story of embracing and celebrating all parts of her cultural heritage and persevering in the face of adversity forged an emotional connection with millions.

To this day, the Quintanilla family continues to receive letters from fans from all over the world, from different cultural backgrounds expressing how much Selena has impacted their lives. The collection of letters depicted were part of the many that arrived to the Quintanillas shortly afer Selena's passing in 1995.

The letters offer sincere condolences and express their love for Selena. Countries of origin in the collection include: Hungary, El Salvador, Japan, Cuba, and more.

This portrait is made of lip impressions on cardstock, using shades from the 2016 Limited Edition Selena MAC collection'

Selena’s legacy grows with time. She continues to show Latinx, immigrants, and bicultural communities around the world how to be proud of who they are, how to embrace your differences, and how to work hard for your dreams, because doing so makes your achievements that much more meaningful

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