The role was one of the most coveted in Hollywood, with stars like Cierra Ramirez hoping to land the part and portray her idol. To some fans, Serratos, most recently known for her role as Rosita Espinosa on The Walking Dead, was an unlikely choice. However, seeing the star in action in Netflix's first teaser for Selena: The Series, had many doing a double take, and convinced she was the perfect choice to embody the late Tejano singer, who was tragically killed in 1995, at just 23 years old.
From child actress to "Como la Flor," here's Serratos' road to Selena: The Series.
Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide
Serratos, born in Pasadena, California, to a Mexican mother and Italian father, was a performer from a young age. She began figure skating at age three and continued the sport competitively -- but soon found herself working in entertainment.
She signed with the Ford Modeling Agency at age seven, and earned her first recurring TV role in 2004, as Suzie Crabgrass on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Parts on Zoey 101, Cow Belles,7th Heaven and Hannah Montana followed, with Serratos appearing on Ned's until the show's finale in 2007.
The Twilight Saga
In 2008, Serratos nabbed a part in the hottest teen vampire film in Hollywood: Twilight. The actress, who portrayed Bella's (Kristen Stewart) friend, Angela Weber, won Best Performance in a Feature Film -- Supporting Young Actress for her role at the 30th Young Artist Awards in 2009. She went on to star in the rest of the saga, including 2009's New Moon, 2010's Eclipse, 2011's Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 and 2012's Breaking Dawn -- Part 2.
The Walking Dead
Serratos returned to TV after the Twilight saga, with a recurring role as Raven on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Then, in 2014, she scored the part of Rosita on AMC's The Walking Dead. The actress identified with the strong character who was proud of her Latina roots -- and a survivor. The show's Rosita has already outlived her comic book counterpart. ET has reached out to Serratos' rep about her future on the series.
"I love holding it down for the Latinas," Serratos told ET in March. "It's cool because, I don't know, there's a few, but there's not many Latin women in comics and I think it's probably a bucket list thing for me [to play her]."
"I didn't think I'd be on this show for this long," she continued. "I love this show. I think it's going to go down in history as where I learned the most, kind of where I figured myself out. I'm just really proud that I got to be a part of it, and proud that I'm still here. I hope I get to kick it a little bit longer!"
Selena: The Series
Staying in touch with her Hispanic heritage has been important for Serratos, who gave birth to daughter Wolfgang with David Boyd in 2017. She gushed to ET earlier this year about the things she's passing down to her daughter.
"Mama life is so cool... She's, like, communicating with me, and her personality is so awesome. She's a little tomboy and I love her so much," Serratos shared. "She just started saying 'No,' but she doesn't say 'No,' she says it with a Mexican accent," Serratos said. "I love it!"
Months later, Serratos found herself channeling one of the most adored Mexican performers in history. "Here we go!!! Besitos ??? @netflix @selenanetflix," she wrote alongside Netflix's cast announcement for Selena: The Series last week, which featured her slipping into Quintanilla's iconic purple jumpsuit and belting out "Como la Flor."
Rounding out the cast of Selena: The Series is Gabriel Chavarria as Selena's oldest brother, A.B. Quintanilla, Noemi Gonzalez as her sister, Suzette Quintanilla, Ricardo Chavira as her father, Abraham Quintanilla, and Seidy Lopez as her mother, Marcella Quintanilla. Madison Taylor Baez will play Young Selena. The two-part limited series was produced with the support of Quintanilla's family.
A.B. told ET that he was proud to see his sister's legacy live on "through the music" as she received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. "She's in my heart and she's on my mind all the time," he shared.
Suzette, who helps run her late sister’s estate along with her father, has made it her life's mission to keep Selena's memory alive.
"I really feel that Selena is definitely a role model for our youth," she told ET. "I think she represents us as a whole, as Hispanics and Latinos. But, I think she’s also, beyond that, she’s multicultural."
"I’ve been here for the past 22 years just watching her legacy grow," Suzette added. "She’s timeless. All the great legends are. Look at Michael Jackson, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, all these people who made a mark in our world. I’m very honored to say Selena is a legend."
Selena: The Series premieres next year on Netflix.