For the past six years she has been best known as Rosita Espinosa on the AMC hit series The Walking Dead. Now though, actress Christian Serratos is stepping up her game by moving away from zombies (for the time being) and taking on one of the most iconic pop singers ever: Selena in the Netflix series, Selena: The Series.
Before Selena, even before The Walking Dead, Christian Serratos was carving out a name for herself while trying to come to terms with her Hispanic heritage.
Here’s everything you need to know about where Christian Serratos came from and where she’s going next.
CHRISTIAN SERRATOS: TWILIGHT OLYMPIAN
Christian Serratos, at one time, thought about the Olympics. She was (and still sort of is) an ice skater, a sport she took up at the early age of 3. She said of her first time on the ice rink that she was offered a bucket to hold on to as a way to help her skate and not fall, which she rejected. Serratos says she was at the rink every day for ten years and that at one time, her coaches were talking Olympics. She told Le Phant Magazine, “My coaches were talking about the Olympics and it was really crazy. Now, I just do it for fun now. Now when I want to relax, I just go to the rink and skate.”
It was at the age of 7 when Christian Serratos signed with the Ford Modeling Agency. Looking back, it was also the time that she caught the acting bug. “I started off as a model with Ford and they had this theatrical acting division. I ended up loving it down the line. Then I loved it so much and stopped modeling altogether.”
Christian Serratos’ love for acting won her the first role in her professional career as Suzie Crabgrass on the Nickelodeon TV series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. The series ran for four seasons, all of which Serratos appeared but during her run on the show, she was able to complete a few other projects. She was seen in the series’ Zoey 101, 7th Heaven, and Hannah Montana as well as the TV movie Cow Belles.
As Ned was ending, another huge opportunity was presenting itself to Christian Serratos. This opportunity would come in the form of vampires and werewolves and call itself Twilight. Serratos was cast as the shy, quiet, friendly Angela Weber, one of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) new friends she makes when she arrives in Forks. Serratos would continue playing Weber in the Twilight sequels The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.
CHRISTIAN SERRATOS ON THE WALKING DEAD
Christian Serratos joined the cast of The Walking Dead during the series’ fourth season. Her character, Rosita Espinosa, has enjoyed more and more screen time as the years have passed, making her one of the few Latina heroes on television. But embracing that role, much less her heritage, has been an ongoing battle for Serratos.
As she explained to MTV, she always is asked to “do the accent” and it’s the “story of my f*cking life.” Does she sound bitter? Perhaps. But she feels with the focus on her being Latina it takes away from what is important – the acting. “I want to be chosen because of my work,” Serratos continued, “and because I played the role right whether it is sexy, nerdy — whatever the case may be. And luckily, I’ve gotten those chances.”
The parts she’s played in the past (Suzie Crabgrass, Angela Weber) didn’t allow for Christian Serratos to fully embrace her heritage, so taking on Rosita Espinoza has been a welcome for the actress. “Rosita Espinosa is very clearly Hispanic — I think the fans know that, and definitely the fans of the comic book know that,” she said but then added, “You see her speak Spanglish, but that’s about it.”
It seems the way her character is drawn up on The Walking Dead reflects exactly how Serratos feels about her own heritage. A double-edged sword when working in Hollywood. She reflected on a review she read about a character she played in an independent movie which simply referred to her as the “Latina friend,” while describing the other characters in the movie with much more detail. “I’m like, ‘You just bastardized everything that I just f–king poured my heart and soul into,'” Christian Serratos explained. “Because yes, that is what I am, and I’m proud of it, but that is not all that I am… They didn’t mention anything at all about this character, who had basically saved her friend’s life. It was a very important person to talk about.” Clearly this is a bone of contention for Christian.
Regardless, she accepted her role as Espinoza with full embrace. She has become so well-liked that her character has outlived her comic book counterpart. For those in the know, Rosita Espinoza in the comics met her demise at the hands of Whisperer leader Alpha. So, who knows if or even when Rosita will meet her end, Christian Serratos only hopes it’s an epic end to her character when it happens.
THE SELENA EFFECT
Which leads us to Christian Serratos’ new project, one she hesitated in taking. “There was that moment where I thought: ‘Do I want this pressure?’” she told the LA Times. Serratos was talking about taking on the role of a lifetime, that being the life story of the Queen of Tejano music Selena Quintanilla-Pérez who, to the world, was simply known as Selena.
The Latina pop singer’s legacy has lived on through a devoted fan base twenty-five years after her murder, a fact that resonates deeply within Christian Serratos. Not only that, but she also has the unfortunate pleasure of following up another mega Latina star in Jennifer Lopez, who portrayed Selena in the biopic movie Selena. Those are some pretty huge shoes to fill.
“I knew that getting this was going to be difficult for a slew of reasons,” Christian said. “I had to really take such care and have so much respect for everything the fans love and everything that she was to her family. And I knew I was never going to make everybody happy. I knew that because she had that star quality.” But she, as Selena, has hit Netflix running with amazing reviews in the series Part 1, which is nine episodes and covers Selena’s life from a young girl to a rising pop star. Christian Serratos just completed the filming of Part 2, which doesn’t yet have a premiere date.
While taking on the role of Selena was a huge challenge for Serratos, for her it always fell back on to who she was as a person and how she saw herself versus how Hollywood wants to see her. “It’s a rock and a hard place is what it is, because you’re incredibly proud of your heritage and you want to be that for people — that’s what you are; that’s who you are,” Christian Serratos explained to MTV. “Sometimes it’s rough to go in on an audition where they need you to play an accent and speak the language, but on the other hand, it’s really sad when they don’t want that. So as an ethnic actor, it’s something that… I’m still personally figuring out where I stand on it. I just want chances.” She’s going to get them.
CHRISTIAN SERRATOS GOES NAKED FOR CHARITY
So, while Christian Serratos continues the struggle with her Hispanic heritage, one thing she doesn’t struggle with is her veganism. She has turned red meat away and says it has helped her focus better. She also feels her tofurkey, which she makes for Thanksgiving, can rival any real bird out there. But her distaste for red meat and love for animals led Serratos to pose nude for Peta with the caption, “I’d Rather go Naked Than Wear Fur.”
If you haven’t had a chance to catch Christian Serratos as Selena, do it. You’ll also get a chance to see Serratos again as Rosita, as The Walking Dead’s extended season 10 should be premiering in early 2021.