What was supposed to be Gladys Rodriguez’s dream job began in early 2019. The TV writer, then 37, received a call about consulting on a new Netflix series focused on the life of Tejano pop superstar Selena Quintanilla.
Having a hand in retelling the story of a cherished Latino icon who achieved the American dream for the biggest streaming platform in the world? Of course, Rodriguez had to be a part of it. Anything for Selena. Or so she thought.
“I should have seen these red flags in the beginning,” Rodriguez says.
“Selena: The Series” follows the rise of the young Mexican American singer from South Texas who leaned into her roots and learned Spanish phonetically to sing Tejano music, achieving mainstream success that has endured long past her untimely death in 1995.
It’s an intrinsically American story that seemed primed to join Netflix’s roster of big-budget U.S. originals. Instead, it was ordered as a Latin American original, with a modest budget to match well under $2 million per episode, according to multiple sources, for a period drama with specific costume, makeup, and set needs.