What is Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s Sister, Doing Now 2020?

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What is Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s Sister, Doing Now 2020?

In Netflix’s Selena: The Series, Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla and her sister, Suzette Quintanilla, enjoy a special bond. Throughout their childhood and adolescence, we see the sisters style one another’s hair and make-up, design clothing together, shop for their first cars, and share tender heart-to-hearts about everything from their first crushes to their musical dreams. Suzette and Selena were bandmates, sisters, and confidantes, but when Selena was tragically murdered at just 23 years old, the world turned upside down for Suzette, who stopped performing as a musician. However, Suzette has since devoted her life to commemorating her sister’s legacy, and to creating opportunities for other Latin-American musicians.

Four years older than Selena, Suzette halted her career as a drummer in the wake of her sister’s death, but remains a force in the music industry as the CEO and President of Q Productions, the Latin music production company founded by her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. Now 53 years old, she oversees the record label, which strives to sign Tejano musicians like Selena Y Los Dinos. She also oversees the management of The Selena Museum, located in the Quintanilla family hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, where fans can view the singer’s awards, stage costumes, and even her beloved red Porsche convertible. Some visitors have even reported running into Suzette and Quintanilla Jr., who cherishes meetings with Selena’s fans.

“When you walk in through that door, you feel [Selena],” Suzette told Entertainment Tonight, describing The Selena Museum. “You get a sense of who she was as a person and as an artist. It feels personable, just like she was. When you walk in here, you can feel her in here.”

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Suzette also manages licensing requests for her sister’s image—perhaps most notably, she facilitated MAC’s best-selling cosmetics collections inspired by Selena’s unforgettable flair for make-up, beginning with the brand’s 2015 capsule collection and continuing, most recently, with a more expansive MAC x Selena line released in April 2020. Suzette views the collaboration as a continuation of Selena’s passion for cosmetics.

“When Selena passed away, one of the three things she was working on was her clothing line, a makeup line, and a perfume line,” Suzette said in February. “I promised myself that by the time I leave this world, I will accomplish what she started; what she held dear to her heart.”

Suzette has organized and attended numerous Selena tribute concerts, perhaps most memorably in 2005, when, at Selena !VIVE!, the band members of Los Dinos reunited publicly for the first time since Selena’s death. Held in Houston and opened by Jennifer Lopez, who famously played Selena in the eponymous 1997 biopic of her life, the event was broadcasted on Univision, and it remains the most-watched Spanish language television special in U.S. history.

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As for Suzette’s personal life, the beginnings of what would become a long and happy marriage are teased in Selena: The Series, when a twenty-something Suzette falls for Bill Arriaga. Suzette and Arriaga dated for years before marrying in 1993; together they share a 22-year-old son, Jovan, whom Suzette says, “carries [her] sister’s smile.”

Suzette served as an executive producer on Selena: The Series, as did her father. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing; she and Quintanilla Jr. are currently duking it out in court with Moctesuma Esparza, the producer of 1997’s Selena, who claims that Quintanilla Jr. sold Selena’s life rights to him. In a $1 million lawsuit, Esparza argues that, in boxing him out of the Netflix series, Quintanilla Jr. has breached their contract. Yet it seems it will take more than a lawsuit to bring Suzette down. In an Instagram post highlighting a Selena: The Series billboard in Corpus Christi, Suzette wrote powerfully about what the series means to her, both as an artifact of Latinx representation and as a tribute to her sister.

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“We all have dreams and we all have goals, and even though Selena is not here, it does not change this story,” Suzette wrote. “To just inspire one person is winning in my eyes… [there’s] only one person who I wish would be watching with us all.”

Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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