Wearing those familiar black tight pants and rhinestone-studded bustiers, participants at a recent Selena look-alike contest danced to “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” with the crowd cheering them on. Fans expect a lot when you’re going for Selena’s signature look, which has now become a part of her legacy.
Stephanie Bergara, lead singer for the Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda, first dressed up like the Tejano music superstar in the fourth grade. She takes achieving Selena’s look seriously when she’s interpreting her on stage.
During the 1990s, especially in South Texas, many young girls sported the Selena look, recreating her famous updo for proms and quinceañeras. Today, hundreds of Selena hair, makeup and bustier tutorials exist on YouTube. And countless Selena interpreters as well as drag queens keep her look alive.
Currently, there’s a change.org petition requesting MAC Cosmetics release a limited-edition Selena Quintanilla line. More than 27,700 supporters (and climbing) have signed and generated a social media buzz.
“I’ve spent my life trying to look like her, doing my eyebrows her way or making sure my lipstick was red enough,” Bergara, 28, says. She can now complete the Selena hair and makeup look in about an hour and 15 minutes. She spends a lot of time researching photos, sewing costumes and applying rhinestones to many of her costumes with the help of her family. “I was at Hobby Lobby last night buying $40 worth of rhinestones,” she says with a laugh.
Selena, who is now a pop culture icon, began singing as a young girl with her family band, Selena y Los Dinos, but she also aspired to make her mark in fashion. She launched her own boutiques, called Selena Etc., and designed her own rhinestone-studded outfits. Today many of them have been displayed in museums across the country. Her famous leather outfit including the boots, tight pants, satin bustier and motorcycle jacket were acquired by the Smithsonian.
“Not a day goes by that I’m not in some kind of Selena mentality,” Bergara says. “From the way I did my makeup as a teenager to the music I wanted to pursue as an adult.”