Suzette Quintanilla likens sister Selena to Beyoncé and talks friendship with Jennifer Lopez

It’s been 20 years since Jennifer Lopez took on the role of Selena Quintanilla in the 1997 film, Selena. While the actress’ performance of the late Mexican-American singer earned her a Golden Globe nomination, Selena’s sister Suzette Quintanilla admitted that there is another artist in addition to J.Lo that her sister relates to — Beyoncé.

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VER GALERÍA Suzette unveiled a wax figure of her late sister in New York Photo: Getty Images for Madame Tussauds New York

“I think that Selena if she was here today, people always ask 'Who would she be like?' I say Beyoncé in a sense that she can be one person on stage like Selena was and when she gets off stage she is her. But she has the sincerity as well,” Suzette told HOLA! USA on Friday, after unveiling her sister’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in New York. 

VER GALERÍA Jennifer Lopez played Selena in the 1997 drama film about the singer Photo: SCOTT DEL AMO/AFP/Getty Images

While the actress can see her sister in JAY-Z's wife, she noted that Selena would still be proud of Jennifer. Suzette said, “J.Lo, is rocking it. You look at her and she's got that drive and it's not just about settling either, it's about being able to be an actress, being a performer, being a singer and being a mom with the twins.” The pair have remained in contact since Jennifer portrayed the Dreaming of You singer. Selena’s older sibling confessed, “We try to keep in touch!”

Continue reading for more on HOLA! USA’s interview with Suzette

HOLA! USA: What does Selena symbolize to Latinos in 2017 and why do you think she has remained an icon 22 years after her death?

"I think what she represents and people can identify with her. As far as a Latino and Latina they can look at her and say, 'Oh, she's cool and she's me. She’s got the dark skin, she got the curves, she got the body like we do.' I think that also, now we have social media, so people can go online and be there at a concert. They can see her. They can hear her on an interview and see who she was as a person. It's just a combination of a lot if things. She was beautiful, she was talented, she had this way of being able to captivate you when she performed and on top of that she had this really amazing personality. She was so down to earth and I think that people can relate to that. And unfortunately people can relate to the fact that she was taken way too soon, she was murdered, I think it just plays a small factor in the fact of why we are still talking about her today."

What does it mean to Selena's legacy to have a figure in New York City?

"First of all, I never thought it was going to happen. I'm super, super excited. How could I not be? I'm so proud and very honored that Madame Tussauds asked if they could do a wax figure for this location. I think it's awesome that she's on the west coast and the east coast!

VER GALERÍA Selena's original wax figure is in Los Angeles Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

How involved was your family during the process?

"The original one that's in L.A. took a whole year to create. We were there from day one. It was really interesting the whole process. They came down from London and we showed them what Texas is all about. From picking out her hair color to picking out her eye color  to discussing what outfit to actually put her in. Originally — a lot of people don't know this — we were going to do the Grammys dress but then we just felt like people who do not know who Selena is as an artist, are they going to understand who she is? Is she just this really pretty Latina girl in this pretty gown? But are they going to understand who she was and what she did for being in Madame Tussauds. So we just decided to go with the iconic performance outfit. It's what's she wore for the live concert that she did, which she, in turn, won the Grammy for. So that's the reason we went with this. Of course you know about the bra, she ran out of stones before the concert and she did her own thing on the side. It's an iconic bra! And that's really the whole process of being able to create it. When they asked to do the wax figure here — there was only a six month window — and they wanted to have her here a month before the Sabor Latino happening with Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Selena Gomez and Romeo Santos because it takes a whole year to create a new one we didn't have time and they just did an amazing job.  I want to take her home. 

- Interview by: Tionah Lee

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