For many Latinas, Selena Quintanilla was their first relatable beauty icon. She was simultaneously a glamorous music star and homegrown beauty who looked like the fans who loved her.
Matte skin, winged eyeliner, big lashes, arched brows and red lips comprised her signature look. Compared with today’s heavier-handed contouring and highlighting, Selena’s approach was simple, albeit stunning. Twenty-one years after the tejano queen’s death, fans still mimic her style. Countless YouTube tutorials, blog posts and social media videos are dedicated to achieving her look. Now, thanks to MAC cosmetics, that will be easier with a new collection that pays homage to the late star.
Los Angeles radio producer Patty Rodriguez helped make the idea of the makeup line a reality. Rodriguez pitched a Selena-inspired collection to MAC in 2013 after the company released a line honoring Marilyn Monroe. Rodriguez wanted Selena commemorated in the same way.
“She’s an American icon. She represents the American woman,” she says. “Here’s this American girl who spoke perfect English, yet sung in Spanish. She was living her culture in America. As a Latino, you relate to that 100 percent.”
For more than two years, Rodriguez lobbied for the line. “(MAC) is a coming-of-age brand,” she says. “The minute you get your first job, you go and buy your first MAC lipstick or liner.” She sent the brand information about Selena and her loyal fans, and hammered home that Latinas are top beauty buyers. The company thanked her and agreed to consider the idea, she adds.
In 2015, Rodriguez started a change.org petition hoping to persuade MAC to act. Using the hashtag #SelenaQuintanillaforMac, the petition reached its initial goal of 5,000 signatures in less than 24 hours and eventually garnered 37,770 before MAC announced it was on board.
“I think it’s amazing. It’s a powerful message that Selena’s fans are united in the love they have for her and that they still want to honor her,” says Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga, Selena’s sister, bandmate and CEO and president of Q Productions, Inc., the entertainment label founded by her family.
Quintanilla Arriaga worked closely with MAC to ensure it stayed true to Selena’s iconic look. In fact, several products in the line are based on items from Selena’s cosmetics case.
“This line is not about color choices that I wanted or that MAC felt needed to be promoted or done,” she says. “This line is solely based on Selena’s on- and off-stage look. They matched and created colors that Selena had in her makeup case. This line is her.”
Before she was murdered by a disgruntled business associate in 1995, Selena was working on her own cosmetics line and perfume, says Quintanilla Arriaga. The fact that a cosmetics company is releasing a line in her honor seems perfect. “I wish with all that I have that she was here to see this. She would have been over the moon.”