Except for the tragic ending, the Selena story unfolds on screen like a fairy tale. That's because, according to reporters who've been investigating the Selena murder case for the past two years, the family-authorized biopic is a fairy tale. "The movie is the family's version of the story," says Juan Manuel Navarro, staff writer for the respected Monterrey, Mexico, newspaper El Norte. "It's not the truth of what really happened in Selena's life."
Navarro's investigative series on the circumstances surrounding Selena's murder appeared early last summer, on the heels of a lengthy report in Us magazine and an unauthorized biography, Como La Flor, by Texas Monthly senior editor Joe Nick Patoski. This month, yet another Selena bio questioning the official family story hit the stands: Selena's Secrets, by Maria Celeste Arraras, the co-anchor of Univision's Primer Impacto newsmagazine. The portrait of Selena that emerges from these independent accounts is remarkable for its consistency - and for its gritty contrast to the idealized Selena of most media reports and of [Gregory] Nava's new film. Among other things, the reporters have found:
-- Selena's convicted murderer, Yolanda Saldivar, portrayed as a disgruntled, dishonest employee by the family, was in fact a trusted family insider - "like a sister to us," said Chris Perez in one preport. Saldivar was one of Selena's best friends, with full responsibility for the project that Selena treasured as much if not more than her music - a fashion design house in Monterrey.