One thing we know for sure is that, two decades after her death, Selena matters as much as ever. She’s relevant in academia. She’s relevant to Drake. What she still means to people in Corpus Christi and South Texas can hardly be quantified. So the only question we have for Madame Tussauds—the famous wax museum chain with 23 locations around the world (including seven in the U.S.)—is why did it take so long to memorialize Selena Quintanilla?
Selena’s wax statue was announced today, and it’s set to debut at the end of August at the Hollywood location. (If you’re wondering why it’s not going in across the street from the Alamo, the answer is that the wax museum in San Antonio is a Louis Tussauds franchise inside of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not location, not the similarly named Madame Tussauds.) The announcement came after a surprisingly robust campaign from fans: Nearly 10,000 people signed a Change.org petition lobbying the museum to immortalize Selena in wax last year. Within a week, the chain responded that Selena “would be a great figure” and they’d take the petition under consideration.
That usually means that a company is blowing fans off, but in this case, they apparently considered it and got started on the figure. According to a press release from the company this morning, the Hollywood location’s general manager Colin Thomas said, “At Madame Tussauds, our figures represent icons who have made a significant impact on our culture. That perfectly describes Selena. Her influence has transcended generations and her passionate fans continue to be inspired by her to this day. We recognize this and in response, we are proud to join her fans in celebrating her legacy by immortalizing her.”
The process of getting set in wax is long. The Madame Tussauds team traveled to the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi to meet with the Quintanilla family and began researching the proper pose, expression, hairstyle, makeup, wardrobe, etc. The sculptors then started to work on crafting the singer in wax, while designers apply individual jewels to the studded bra that the statue will wear in celebration of the Selena Live! album.
The Quintanilla family seems thrilled. “On behalf of our family we would like to express a huge amount of gratitude to Madame Tussauds in creating such an amazing lifelike wax figure of our beloved Selena,” the press release quotes Suzette Arriaga, Selena’s sister, as saying. “This is yet another step in making sure that her legacy lives on and that her fans new and old can appreciate her as a person, an artist and one whom we can all identify with.”
The investment from Madame Tussauds is legit too. The chain claims that the figure will be valued at roughly $350,000, which is really a huge amount of money for a wax statue—but can you ever truly put a price on Selena? At any rate, 10,000 fans who care deeply about both Selena and wax museums have spoken, and come August 30, they’ll get their reward in the waxy flesh.