Jesse Posey charms his way into our hearts much like his character Chris Perez did for his love Selena Quintanilla. Jesse stars as Chris opposite Christian Serratos’s Selena in Selena: The Series.
About part 2: Now on the brink of stardom, Selena Quintanilla’s journey through the Tejano music world continues. Learning how to handle her newfound success, Selena struggles to balance, family, love, and a burgeoning career. Part 2 of Selena: The Series chronicles the years of hard work and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigate together as she becomes the most successful female Latin artist of all time.
Check out our interview with Jesse!
So how familiar were you with Selena and her music before coming on to this project?
Jesse Posey: Not familiar at all, which is weird because I grew up in a family that seemed like they probably would have listened to Selena and showed their kids, but my mom never really got into Selena so I never really knew about her. I didn’t even watch the movie until after I booked the role. But it was cool, you know, they gave me time to really get familiar with what Selena meant to Chris. Not as Selena the icon, but Selena the person. And, you know, I felt like it was my job to really learn that. And so, not knowing the whole like stardom of Selena really gave me a good opportunity to just get to know her as a regular person.
What did you do to prepare for this role?
Jesse Posey: Yeah, I did watch the movie just to kind of like, see what they did. I knew our show wasn’t going to be anything like the movie, so I didn’t really try to learn anything from it to base my character. But I watched YouTube videos and Chris Perez wrote a book that I read, but YouTube was a huge factor in learning everything there is to know about Selena. He’s got some interviews he did before she died, which are pretty like standard, they kind of just show you what was going on in their lives around that time. But after she died, Chris had a couple of interviews that were really raw and emotional and we can see how much he loved Selena and how much he cared for and how much he cared for the band and the whole scene and everything. So yeah, watching YouTube and reading this book pretty much helped me get the role down.
Did you get to meet or speak with Chris while preparing?
Jesse Posey: Not before we filmed. He did reach out to me afterwards and just kind of said a few nice things about the show and how it portrayed him but prior to filming, we didn’t meet.
Was that a challenge, not having consulted with him before playing him?
Jesse Posey: I was cool with it. It wasn’t exactly his story being told, there’s a family story being told. And so I just felt it would be better if I learned the story kind of from their perspective and also his, but, you know, at the end of the day I wasn’t telling his exact story, we were telling the family’s story. I know when people portray people, a lot of times they will meet that person and they will learn a lot from them but I kind of thought it was cool that I was going into it just doing my own research and not having somebody try to explain to me how the whole life of Chris Perez and Selena was. It was cool that I got to just learn it on my own and kind of take the wheel.
Was there any pressure playing Chris?
Jesse Posey: I think the only pressure I felt was that they had already started filming for a few months before I got there. And so when I got in, I was a little nervous because I wasn’t in a group yet, I didn’t know anything about how anything was going on on set, so I just I kind of felt like an outsider but as soon as I got in there and everybody welcomed me, I felt like we were all doing enough with our characters and our jobs on set, to not really feel that pressure, you know? I mean, I just felt like we were all doing a good enough job and having a lot of fun and doing all that we could do to tell this story right and that relieves the pressure, just kind of knowing that like my co actors and directors and the writers and everybody was like, just pulling their own weight. It took a lot of the pressure off, just filming with this crew and I just figured that if I went in and did everything I could and did all the research I could, that there’s really no pressure.
What went into establishing your bond with Christian?
Jesse Posey: Our relationship just flowed naturally. We got to know each other, quick. We worked well together, we acted well together, we always got ideas off each other, always trying to make the scene better and make it make more sense. Yeah, I think I just got lucky. I hear a lot of stories of people who have to be close on set, and don’t really connect too well in real life but we were lucky that we did connect, and I mean everybody on set, we all connected really well and made working together really fun. Christian and I, we kind of talked about the relationship between Chris and Selena and, you know, the things that they might have done that weren’t really talked about, that might have been behind closed doors. We just tried to pick out little things that would make this story easier for us to tell and just make it better. But we, from day one, we worked really well together. We had a lot of fun.
Do you play the guitar?
Jesse Posey: Yeah, I’ve always played a little bit but I started playing more for this role. Chris, I’ve heard some of his stuff, it’s really cool. And the cool thing with me and him, we may not like the same music, but we like the same kind of genre. I’ve always kind of felt like a bit on the outside because I’ve always liked punk music, rock music and most people around don’t. And I think that’s kind of what separated him from everyone. Everyone knows that he’s always kind of been this rocker that people were kind of intimidated by, but he’s still a good dude.
What was it like jumping into Selena’s genre?
Jesse Posey: I actually really became a fan of her music. And it’s easy to play on the guitar, it’s a lot of simple like up and down notes, nothing like what Chris Perez used to play. You know, he’s used to playing a lot of like crazy middle riffs and Selena is everything but crazy middle riffs. So it was easy to play and I really enjoyed the music. It was cool to really dive deep into it.
So, when you’re playing an instrument and filming at the same time, how does that work? Can you explain the process a little bit?
Jesse Posey: Yeah. So we would have like, four or five episodes coming up where we knew what the music was going to be. And so for however long we had two weeks, four weeks, five weeks, three months, didn’t matter, whatever time we had we would work on those songs. Then when we went to perform them, there was a backtrack playing in the background for everybody so, yeah, even though we did learn the songs through and through, we didn’t have to perform them live, thank god. We pretty much just played along to the track, none of us were plugged in. A lot of movie magic. We did work really hard, learning the songs but the film crew made performing really easy on us and made us look good. A lot of props to them.
One thing I want to ask you is Chris’s hairstyle. Is that Is that your real hair?
Jesse Posey: It was a wig. The shorter hair is my hair but yeah the long ponytail that you see in the first season is just a wig.
Would you ever consider growing your hair out like that now that you know what you look like with it?
Jesse Posey: No, I’ve had long hair before, not like that, but I like to keep pretty short. It’s just hard to maintain. Like I can’t imagine having hair like that and what you have to do to maintain it.
Selena was very much an inspiration to everyone around her. What’s something that you are taking away from her legacy?
Jesse Posey: I think she was born a star, but she was never had that star mentality. She was confident, she knew her worth and remained humble, she always remained inspired. She never just sat back and coasted, you know, and I think that part is pretty inspiring to know. She went after her dreams when she pretty much had nothing. I think the biggest takeaway from Selena is just remaining humble and always sticking to your roots. Be who you are and be confident in yourself. Yeah, that’s the biggest one, not only that I take for myself, but that I want to spread out to the world.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about the series?
Jesse Posey: Watch it, watch it a lot. I’ve watched it twice or three times now and everytime I watch it, I notice more things. The music is a big part of the series, I love that we spent so much time learning the songs and performing them. I think it’s really educational, too. Like for kids who are trying to learn the process, this is a good show to watch for that.