New York City may be hundreds of miles away from the Queen of Tejano’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas but it still has a community that would do anything for Selenas. You can find them at Selena Por Siempre NYC, an annual party where Selena Quintanilla fans can get together and celebrate her birthday. I went as a spectator last year, but this time I decided I was going to go all out for the occasion. From my makeup, to my outfit, to breaking it down on the dance floor, I was going to give the world an epic Quintanilla moment, and it was worth the effort.
I have been a Quintanilla fan ever since I was a little girl. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to her Amor Prohibido album. As I grew up, she was one of the icons that made me proud to be Latina and inspired me to strive for excellence. My love for her runs deep and it’s so amazing that 23 years after her death, her memory is more alive than ever. It’s only right that I do my part in preserving her legacy by celebrating her life in epic fashion.
First, I went into my makeup vault and got my #MACSelena collection. The makeup line was released over a year ago but I had not touched a single piece until now.
I decided to rock Quintanilla’s red lip with the “Como La Flor” Lipstick from the collection. I kept the rest of the makeup in the neutral style she wore but made it my own. I rocked my normal brow shape but filled them in as strongly as she did, traded my usual warm browns eye shadows for the pink she liked to use, and incorporated her signature winged liner my way. I highlighted and contoured to my heart’s content, something I imagine Quintanilla would have done with her look if she were still around today.
I found the perfect Quintanilla-inspired jumpsuit online ($72, Asos). The purple one she wore at her final performance at the Houston Astrodome is iconic, but she also had a green version that she stunned in. The teal number I chose was the perfect happy medium. Silver patent leather booties ($60, Public Desire) inspired by a pair she wore completed the look.
Next, I was off to meet my friends so we could sing and dance our hearts out to Quintanilla’s greatest hits at the party, which took place at a lounge called Drom in New York City. Little did we know that we would end up shutting the club down.
When we arrived, we found a Selena altar complete with “Bibi Bidi Bom Bom” candles by Chiquita Brujita (she says they are coming to her online store soon) and handwritten notes to Quintanilla by the fans in attendance.
A tribute band called Amor Prohibido was giving the sold out crowd life. Their rock interpretations of “Si Una Vez” and “Como La Flor” brought an amazing energy that set the tone for the rest of the night.
Attendees also got to basque in the greatness of Grammy award winning female mariachi group Flor de Toloache. They played a combination of original songs and Quintanilla classics. Watching them kill it, especially the violin solos, was such a treat.
DJ sets by DJ Chela (the creator of the event), DJ Bembona, and Principe Q (Quintanilla’s nephew) were so good that my feet were destroyed from all of the dancing I did. The music was amazing, and I wasn’t surprised because you can’t go wrong when the Queen of Tejano was involved. But even with all of the amazing music, the best part of the night was all about the fans.
I love a good talent show and the evening’s dance off did not disappoint. If you want proof that this party is a judgement-free zone, a safe space to express your love for Quintanilla, look no further than this portion of the event. Host Lady Quesa’Dilla’s words that encouraged us to be kind to others in such troubling times laid the groundwork for that. The only requirement is that you have fun onstage and the woman that won this year’s contest was the ultimate example. She was the last one to join the group of volunteers and she told the crowd she was shy. But when that Quintanilla music came on, all of that went out the window. She danced her heart out and all of us in the crowd went WILD.
The last item on the agenda was a look-alike contest, which my friends and other members of the audience peer pressured me into entering. I am a huge introvert so I was screaming internally as I took the stage with the other ladies, but once I got there I just said fuck it, let’s do this! I explained the inspiration for my costume and a combination of votes from Lady Quesa’Dilla and the audience brought the competition down between me and another superfan who wore an incredible Quintanilla-inspired cow-print outfit.
We had to lip sync for our lives to “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” and even though I didn’t win, I had a blast putting on a show. It didn’t matter if I looked ridiculous. I knew I had nothing to worry about in a room of equally obsessed Quintanilla fans, some of which took the stage that night to encourage love and acceptance.
I spent the rest of the night dancing with my friends even though my poor feet were absolutely done and snapped photos with so many other attendees who were nothing but sweet to me.
I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Selena por vida!