"I don't think I've ever told you this, but there was about four girls that they had narrowed it down to and of course you were one of them," Suzette tells Noemi. "And I remember when I got to you, Noemi, I felt like you were me. And whenever I saw your audition tape, I was like, 'Oh yeah, we just need to plump her up a little bit.' I know that must've been a lot for you to be able to do that complete transformation. I thank you so much. You did a great job and I hope it was well worth it."
Noemi couldn't have been more grateful to embody Suzette in the two-part bio-series, expressing, "I'm playing a role of a lifetime, getting to play you and getting to connect with you. And it was just such an honor to feel my feminine divine through your character. I had no problem with the first day they cut my hair. I was like, 'Take it!'"
"I was cutting my hair for it. I gained weight, changed my body and I also learned how to play the drums. So I had to do those three physical things because the drums are a really physically demanding instrument," she recalls. "It was a very physically demanding and a wonderful way to like challenge myself, as an actor and artist. It was so cool to get this role of a lifetime, this character. That's just so beautiful Suzette. So I'm seriously so thankful for you."
Upon taking the role, Noemi reveals that she felt like she knew "everything" about Suzette. "I was such a big fan. I saw some facts online and I'm sure I saw that you were left-handed. But when we met in person, or excuse me on Zoom, and you told me, 'I'm left handed so the [drum] kit is set up right-handed,'…You were not only learning a new instrument but then also rewiring from your dominant hand to your non-dominant hand to play, and I was just like, 'What?!' Like that blew my mind.'"
Suzette explains that the drum kit was originally supposed to be for her cousin who was going to be the drummer in their band, and is right-handed.
"I don't think a lot of people knew back then. [They] definitely know now that the series is out. But yeah, I am left-handed and I do everything left-handed except for play the drums," Suzette explains. "I play the drums right-handed."
The former drummer, meanwhile, reveals that early on she didn't have confidence in herself while performing "because of the fact that girls didn't play drums and I was dead set against playing."
"This is going to sound crazy to you guys, but it came after [my sister] passed," she shares. "I can now look back, because when you're in it you don't realize what you're really doing so to speak, and so when you step out of the box, I really would see our live concerts and I'd be like, 'Hey, wow, OK, I get it.' Now looking back at our live performances, it makes me want to dance and it makes me feel good knowing that I was able to do that.
Reflecting on some of Suzette's past performances and looks, the 53-year-old also reveals some of her favorite and least favorite outfits while part of Selena y Los Dinos.
"The cow print! Oh my god. Hands down the cow print outfit," laughs Suzette. "I go back and I look at those, and what were we thinking? And then I try to think about what was the vibe back then? Cow print was the vibe back then. And what's crazy is that I see it now it's starting to trend again."
"My favorite, I would have to say was we had done these purple shimmer type of outfits. It was kind of like organza purple-ish iridescent type of vibe," she recalls. "Those were my favorite. And also red, black and white, and everybody has those three tones going on with kind of rocker, cool type of vibe. Yes. That probably would be on the top of my list for my favorite."
Suzette shares that back then her and Selena's beauty and fashion style was "anything goes."
"It was more lo que sea! Whatever goes, whatever, however. And back then, Selena and I really just vibed. Whatever we really wanted to do [we did it]," Suzette expresses. "Most people might think that, even though my sister was physically on point, I would have some form of insecurity because I've always been a plus size girl, AKA fluffy, and I don't."
"I really have never felt insecure. I really haven't," she continues. "If [I had any] insecurity [it] was me performing as a female drummer and not really knowing my craft. But as far as me personally, I never felt any less. And I just feel comfortable of who I am. And I think that needs to be thrown out there more to the younger generation. That what we see online is not really what you really see."
Noemi also reminisces about feeling seen and represented as a Latina on TV and the big screen. The actress shares that it was actually watching Selena the movie.
"It was J.Lo. It was Jackie Guerra, playing you. It was all the characters there that played this family," Noemi admits. "To have the movie then and now have the series where we're continuing that representation so people can feel seen in all these family and band dynamics. And I'm now Suzette within the series and it was... I have chills. It was a really beautiful blessing."
"I had to be in grade school at the time, probably 10, 8. We had this theater that everyone went to because it was a very small town and I had never seen a line go out to the parking lot," she reflects. "The fact that we were seeing ourselves on screen in this community, we all went to support and it was just so cool to see all these Latinos from different backgrounds going to see the movie in the '90s. And now we have it in our homes, watching it on Netflix."
"She loved a lot of R&B," she says, before sharing what type of music Selena would be creating. "She would have been more like Beyoncé with a little bit of Ciara, you know what I mean?"
"If she would've been alive, she would've just recently turned 50 last month. It was kind of funny because mom and I were talking about it and we were like, 'Hey, do you remember that time that we were talking and somebody said something and [Selena] was, 'Yeah, when I'm about 50 years old I'm still going to be performing,'" Suzette recalls. "And then she turned around and she pushed her stomach out and she turned around, like she was singing. She goes, 'I'm still going to be wearing my bustier and I'm going to have a panza and my leggings.' And it just felt good to just kind of reminisce about those times."
When asked if she had another memory that the fans don't know about her and Selena, Suzette replied, "I'll leave you with something funny."
"We shared a room together for many, many years and she would always [say], 'Scratch my back so I can relax,'" she recalls. "So 'You scratch my back, basically I'll scratch your back' like little monkeys. And she would go like, 'You go, you do me first.' I'm like, 'You better not fall asleep. If you fall asleep I'm going to be real mad.' And she would always fall asleep on me. Noemi, I kid you not! Or I would massage her back a little bit and I'm like, 'OK, my turn' And she'd be asleep. I'm like, 'I know you're not yet asleep!' Those are the moments that I miss the most."
See more of Suzette and Noemi's conversation in the video above. Selena: The Series is now streaming on Netflix.