Mexican actress Maya Zapata talks to People en Español about playing iconic singer Selena Quintanilla in the new series El Secreto de Selena coming to Telemundo.

By Lena Hansen
June 26, 2019 06:15 PM

Mexican actress Maya Zapata plays Selena Quintanilla in the new series El Secreto de Selena coming soon to Telemundo. She tells People En Español that, like many people of her generation, she was a fan of Selena and grew up listening to the Queen of Tex Mex, so getting this iconic role was a blessing. After she wrapped filming the series, Zapata went on vacation. She traveled to Oaxaca, a "paradise in Mexico, to read and completely extract" herself from the world, she says. Here are 5 things to know about the fascinating protagonist of the much-awaited series, based on the book by the same name by Puerto Rican TV host María Celeste Arrarás.

(Photo by Carlos Tischler/Getty Images)

1. She was a dancer as a child, which helped her get into Selena's characters as a performer. "I took dance classes for many years when I was little," Zapata says.

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2. She faced some criticism from Selena Quintanilla's most fervent fans. "On one hand I had people saying: ‘You are going to do incredible. You'll do a great job' and others were saying: ‘You don't look anything like her," she says about the challenges of taking on the iconic role. "People don't know who I am and facing the universe of fans wasn't so fun."

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3. She has a 30-year trajectory and puts her soul into every role. "I'm an actress that chooses her projects very carefully," says Zapata, who has starred in the films Bordertown and Three Burials. "It's very important to me that there is a powerful reason behind everything I do. It's hard for me to chose projects. I'm a perfectionist."

4. She is in love. She lives in Mexico City and shares her life with her boyfriend and 8-year-old stepdaughter, whom she calls her "best teacher." Besides spending time with her loved ones, Zapata enjoys writing and getting lost in literature. "I'm a loner and love to stay home reading," she reveals.

5. She likes the Buddhist philosophy. "Buddhism is a religion that I like, I like to study it, learning to live in the Now, understanding karma and dharma," she says. "The fact that it doesn't present a punishing God and presents Buddha like a normal man that reached enlightenment through his deeds, a bit like Christ. How do you get to the place of tranquility and peace we are all looking for? It's very interesting to me."

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