Natasha Perez, the actress who plays Selena Quintanilla's murderer in Selena: The Series, is worried for her safety, even though she only appears in one episode of the Netflix miniseries. Perez was cast as Yolanda Saldivar, who was Quintanilla's fan club president and is serving a life sentence for murdering Quintanilla in March 1995. Selena: The Series follows Quintanilla's rise to fame, but Perez is introduced as Saldivar in the finale.
Perez told Entertainment Weekly she jumped at the opportunity to play an "evil villain" after playing villains on stage and a villain in a comedy. However, once she started working with the director, she began feeling conflicted. She was worried that some of Quintanilla's biggest fans would think she was really the singer's killer and not just an actor playing the part.
"The actress in me is fascinated by the journey of a complex character, but the human in me has all sorts of feelings," Perez told EW. "The actress in me is also worried about her safety. A lot of people take this very seriously and think that it's real, and in this case, the character is real but it's not me. I'm not her."
Perez said the makeup and costume she wore on set was so convincing that people did not recognize her when she was done for the day. "It took them a few weeks to get used to the fact that I was the one they were seeing around set," the Venezuelan actress said. "I'm hoping that will happen in the real world too and that I'm not that recognizable out of my costume." She also pointed out that she is much taller than Saldivar, so she had to kneel down when filming scenes with Christian Serratos, who plays Quintanilla.
Although Saldivar is in the Netflix series, Perez pointed out that the series is a celebration of Quintanilla's life and everyone involved treated her story with respect. "The beauty of it all is how her legacy continues until today through her music, her art, and really, her whole life," Perez said of the series and Quintanilla. "Thanks to her, we can have this conversation today and celebrate a show about a Latina, starring and written by Latinos. It's a beautiful thing."
All nine episodes of Selena: The Series are now streaming on Netflix. The cast also includes Gabriel Chavarria, Richardo Chavira, Noemi Gonzalez, and Seidy Lopez. Moises Zamora created the show, and Quintanilla's sister, Suzette Quintanilla, is among the executive producers.