Jennifer Lopez Admits Selena ‘Had A Lot To Do With’ Her Career

Nearly two decades later, Jennifer Lopez is still remembered for portraying the late Selena on the big-screen.

The 1997 biopic, Selena, focused on the life, career, and death of 23-year-old Selena Quintanilla — emphasizing the major impact that her music had on so many of her fans, friends, and family members.

Jennifer Lopez Talks Selena’s Impact on 20th Anniversary of Her Death – Us Weekly http://t.co/mR9QrVOXt0

— David Daniels (@dvdaniels) April 1, 2015

In a recent interview with Billboard, Jennifer Lopez commemorated the 20th anniversary of Selena’s murder by discussing how playing the Latina singer inspired her to pursue her own singing career.

“It had a lot to do with it — all those performances. I sang in musicals before, but as part of a cast, never as a solo artist upfront or a recording ­artist.”

Lopez further admits that portraying Selena taught her an important life lesson that compelled her to take full advantage of her own talents and opportunities — regardless of what other people thought about it.

“It made me realize, ‘Don’t neglect parts of yourself and let people put you in a box because you’re an actress. You can do this, and you can also do that. Life is short, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Go for your dreams and don’t let anyone hold you back.’ “

From a very young age, Selena Quintanilla was prepared for the spotlight thanks to the ongoing support and encouragement of her family. More than two years after she was murdered in March 1995, Selena’s star within the music industry still shined brightly. In December of 1999, Billboard named Selena the “top Latin artist of the 90s.”

She was also recognized as the highest-selling Latin artist of the decade, since 14 of her singles made it to the Top Latin Songs chart — including 7 hit songs making it to the No. 1 spot.

When discussing Selena’s lasting legacy during her own Billboard interview, Jennifer Lopez made it clear that there would never be another Selena.

“It’s like saying there’s another James Dean or Marilyn Monroe. People like that don’t come along every day. There is never going to be another Selena. It’s a special thing that Selena had. That’s why we’re still talking about her 20 years later.”

With eight studio albums between 1999 and 2014 along with the numerous big-screen acting roles, Jennifer Lopez has clearly been building a legacy for herself in the decades that has passed since she portrayed Selena Quintanilla.

[Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]