“[Selena was] an awkward teenager like we all were at one time or another, so there are some looks in there that are really fun to explore,” Stapleton explains of the show’s vast array of notable beauty looks. “What you see actually is also the influence of this young woman…by a lot of the American music that was happening at the time. You can definitely see it in the costuming, you’ll definitely see it in the hair and the makeup. You can see a Whitney Houston influence at a certain point; you can see a Madonna influence.”
Almost like a timeline of different phases Selena went through during her time in the spotlight, Selena: The Series offers archival looks that fans don’t often get to see portrayed on screen. Many of these looks were recreated using heritage MAC products — which are products that Selena herself used when she was alive, like the top-selling Mahogany and Cherry lip pencils and the best-selling Russian Red and So Chaud matte lipsticks.
A return to naturally sculpted beauty, Stapleton says the team opted for matte powders and avoided highlighters on set, as these weren’t widely used during the ’80s and ’90s. And, while Selena did use MAC foundation to suit her naturally golden undertones, Stapleton opted to use NC 30 Pro Longwear Concealer on star Christian Serratos to avoid unnecessary retouching during long filming days in the Baja California sun. (This was not a product that existed during Selena’s time, but it was a necessary change, according to the beauty designer.)
“Christian has this little habit where she’ll just kind of bounce like a sponge around her face and it kind of calms her…and it just sort of re-emulsifies everything,” Stapleton reveals.
Since much of the show was filmed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Stapleton helped her recreate the iconic beauty looks virtually and estimates Serratos did her own makeup for about 75 percent of the show.
Although they only held two Zoom calls to make sure each look was perfected, Stapleton says Serratos was a master at recreating Selena’s lips and brows. The lips in particular needed to replicate the distinctive 1940s-esque look, sans middle peak, that Selena’s naturally had. It was this extended prep, as Serratos calls it, that allowed her to feel more grounded and connected to the role.