'Selena: The Series' Episode 6 'My Love': Was Selena a sex icon? How her costumes were once labeled 'provocative'

'What is she wearing? Why does she look like a belly dancer?' Selena's father angrily remarks in the Netflix show. Was it true in real life too? 

                            'Selena: The Series' Episode 6 'My Love': Was Selena a sex icon? How her costumes were once labeled 'provocative'
Christian Serratos as Selena (Netflix)

Spoilers for ‘Selena: The Series’ Episode 6 ‘My Love’

‘Selena: The Series’ draws light to various aspects of the Tex-Mex queen and the sixth episode hints at her fashion sense. In the episode, her father Abraham Quintanilla (Ricardo Chavira) has a squabble with the record group EMI Latin for the photoshoots they had planned. “What is she wearing? Why does she look like a belly dancer?” he angrily remarks. Was it true in real life too? 

A protective father, Quintanilla wanted to keep Selena's image clean and family-oriented. In fact, he turned down sponsorship from beer companies in 1989. If an excerpt in the book ‘Selena’ by Joe Nick Patoski is to be believed, a photographer remarked that Abraham stormed off during the photoshoot for Entre a Mi Mundo in 1992. Selena's choice of clothing affected him tremendously and he often left sessions when Selena appeared in revealing outfits.

Selena Quintanilla (Getty Images)

In 1989, Manuel Peña called her a sex icon following the release of her debut album and Charles Tatum said Selena grabbed many eyeballs for her “beauty, sexuality, and youthful impact on the Tejano music scene”. In the early 1990s, she switched to trendy outfits like decorative bustiers, spandex or tight pants, and unbuttoned jackets. Many critics remarked she was following the footsteps of Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, and Madonna. In fact, NBC News wrote: “She dressed provocatively and was called “The Mexican Madonna,” yet she married her first and only boyfriend.”

While some loved her outfits, others criticized it. Betty Cortina of People magazine said she had a “flamboyant style, an unbelievable body, curves and booty,” adding, her “sexy outfits that [accentuated] a body of a Latina woman”. Matt S Meier penned down in his 2010 book 'The Mexican American Experience: An Encyclopedia' shed light on Selena's “warmth, passion, and sexuality” while exuding a “down-to-earth persona of the wholesome young girl next door”.

‘Selena: The Series’ (Netflix)

But did Selena has costume designing dreams? Her sister Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga told Texas Monthly, “One of Selena’s dreams was to be a fashion designer. She had a sketchbook that she was always sketching in when we were on the road. A lot of the outfits she wore onstage were her own design. Remember the white outfit she wore at the 1994 Astrodome show? She beaded the boots before we got to Houston, but she was still sewing beads onto the bustier backstage right before the show started.”

Cameron Randle, the vice president and general manager of Arista/Texas and its Latin music subsidiary, Arista/Latins, put things into perspective, saying, “She was sexy, but she knew exactly how far to go. I think that was because you saw a combination of a young woman coming into her own, yet doing so publicly with her father in the room at all times. She had one eye focused on the audience and one eye focused on him.”

‘Selena: The Series’ starts streaming all nine new episodes on Netflix this December 4, 2020.

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