Selena Quintanilla was just 23 years old when she was tragically killed but her words live on showcasing her wisdom beyond her years. The Queen of Tejano music did a number of interviews throughout her career and fans really got to see her views on hard work, challenges she faced in the industry, and successes she had. She was known for having a strong opinion on the importance of education and always being proud of her heritage. Through the resurgence of footage thanks to social media, we’ve been able to see Selena share her thoughts which has helped us feel close to the icon. Read on to find 10 Selena quotes you may not have heard before that tell us a little more about our beloved reina.
On Spanish being her second language
“It’s great to have everybody, especially Hispanics, getting back to their roots and listening to Spanish music and it’s a start, getting back to learning the language. That’s how I learned it, literally. Because I actually learned English before I learned Spanish.”
Although many of Selena’s hits were in Spanish, her first language was English. She was actually raised in an English-speaking household. When her career began to take off, her father encouraged her to take Spanish-speaking classes. Just because Spanish was her second language didn’t stop her from embracing her culture and connecting with her Spanish-speaking fans.
On being a leader
“If you’re going to be somebody, you need to be a leader and not a follower. The impossible is always possible and you don’t need anybody else to tell you that you’re good.”
For International Women’s Day in 2018, the Quintanilla family posted a Selena quote which read “If you’re gonna be somebody, you need to be a leader not a follower…be strong-minded, the impossible is always possible.”
On how she would like to be remembered
“Not only as an entertainer but as a person who cared a lot and I gave the best that I could, and I’ve tried to be the best role model that I possibly could and the best person that I could be.”
It’s not uncommon to ask stars how they want to be remembered but to watch the footage of Selena answering that question feels almost like foreshadowing. Decades after her death, she’s still remembered the way she wanted to be.
On the importance of education
During this visit Selena encouraged kids to stay in school & played her educational video for the very first time. When technical difficulties arose, Selena sang to the crowd ✨ #selenaquintanillaperez #selenaq #anythingforselenas
“I think education is very important nowadays. I feel that I am in the perfect position to be helping out other children since a lot of families and parents encourage their children to use me as a role model and I feel that that’s an honor. Since I’m in that position, I should set the example.”
Selena was a strong advocate for education. She was so involved in youth education and the community that she regularly visited schools to tell students how important it was to stay in school and graduate. In 1994 she stopped by Cunningham Middle School during American Education week to kick off the stay-in-school campaign. She shared an educational video called “Mi Musica” and walked students through her roots and Mexican American music.
On marriage and commitment
“I think that when you marry someone, it’s a serious move … because there are epidemics like AIDS and it’s very dangerous for one night of ‘fun.’”
Selena was asked if she could ever forgive infidelity and she adamantly said no. She said that marriage is something she takes very seriously and that cheating is basically unacceptable in her eyes. Very much like in her song “La Llamada” when she sings “No me vuelves a llamar/ No te voy a perdonar/ Otra oportunidad/ No te la doy/ No vales la pena,” telling fans that if a man cheats on you then you need to leave him and never look back.
On the importance of family
“One of the most important things, for me, is to have my family by my side, supporting me and have that love. For me, love is super important because money comes and goes but love lasts for such a long time, for the rest of your life.”
Selena’s family meant everything to her. They were supportive of her career and continue to be her voice long after her death. Her father was her manager, her sister her drummer, and her brother was her producer while her husband was the lead guitarist in her band so she constantly had her family by her side.
On singing in Spanish
“I’ve always wanted to become an English singer. It’s always been a dream of mine but I don’t think I’d every leave, I know for a fact that I’d never leave Tex-Mex.”
Selena, whose first language was English, dreamed of one day singing in English and she did just that with her crossover album Dreaming of You. The album sold over 331,000 copies within a week after being released and became the second-highest selling debut album in 1995. Two of the biggest hits from the album are the title track and “I Could Fall in Love”.
On loving someone based on materialistic things
“You shouldn’t care for somebody just because of the materialistic things that they have and I’m a firm believer in that.”
In an interview at Rosedale Park, Selena said her favorite songs to sing were probably “Como La Flor” and “La Carcacha” because one of them is “more on the serious side and everybody has a serious side to them and the other one is comical and yet it sends out a message.”
On the future of Tejano music
“As far as Tejano music, … I think it’s going to go to the top. It’s the music that will be around for many years for many more generations, and all I can say is the reason I’m here is because of the public and I have to say thank you.”
Selena truly broke barriers for women in Tejano music. At times, Selena y Los Dinos struggled to book shows because the group was led by a female. Her hard work and talent not only made her the Queen of Tejano music but she took the genre to a whole other level. She always believed Tejano music would go to the top and it continues to influence mainstream music to this day even though its popularity has waned since her death.
On the simple life
“I’m very simple. I like the finer things in life but because we have gone through some tough times in life I am able to enjoy the simpler things in life.”
Even with all the fame and success, Selena was known to be down to earth. During an interview she shared that there were a lot of sacrifices involved in achieving her success and it was tough at times. Because of this she maintained an appreciation for the little things in life even while enjoying the glam life.