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MAC Cosmetics To Launch Makeup Line Inspired By Tejano Star Selena


Pop icon Selena Quintanilla has been dead for 20 years, but her music is as popular as ever. She's also revered for her poise and beauty. And today, MAC Cosmetics announced it would be producing a limited-edition makeup line named for Selena. Karen Grigsby Bates from NPR's Code Switch team has some background.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, BYLINE: Patty Rodriguez has a day job. She runs a small Los Angeles publishing house, but for the past couple of years, she's been working hard on something else too. She wanted a cosmetics company to honor the woman who owned this voice.


BATES: Tejano star Selena is her heroine, and when Rodriguez saw a limited-edition Marilyn Monroe collection from MAC, she knew that was the place.

PATTY RODRIGUEZ: Growing up Latinas, you know, we save our money for our first MAC lipstick, our first MAC lip liner.

BATES: The singer's flawless red lipstick was her signature, and Rodriguez wrote MAC suggesting it was time for a Selena collection. The company gave her a polite thanks, and that was it. But Rodriguez wouldn't give up. Selena, who was shot dead by an employee at age 23, deserved more. So a little while ago, Rodriguez launched a petition on Change.org.

RODRIGUEZ: I posted this once on social media. All it took was one post, and it just exploded.

BATES: In very short order, there were more than 37,000 signatures asking for a Selena collection. It showed MAC that Selena's fans are ready to support a Selena line, and, says Patty Rodriguez, it showed trust.

RODRIGUEZ: She belongs to us. We're giving permission to, you know, to honor her.

BATES: The company rethought. Then it contacted Selena's sister, Suzette, who gave her permission. Today, MAC announced the Selena collection will debut in 2016. We have heard the passion and enthusiasm from her fans, said a MAC executive in a statement. We wholeheartedly agree that her legacy embodies MAC's philosophy. And Suzette Quintanilla added, if her sister were here she would be beyond this ecstatic. So in the latter part of next year, a new collection inspired by a Latina icon, empowered by her social media savvy admirers, will hit MAC counters, and Selena's red smile will be everywhere.


SELENA QUINTANILLA: (Singing in Spanish).

BATES: Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.


QUINTANILLA: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Senior Correspondent for Code Switch, a podcast that reports on race and ethnicity. A veteran NPR reporter, Bates covered race for the network for several years before becoming a founding member of the Code Switch team. She is especially interested in stories about the hidden history of race in America—and in the intersection of race and culture. She oversees much of Code Switch's coverage of books by and about people of color, as well as issues of race in the publishing industry. Bates is the co-author of a best-selling etiquette book (Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times) and two mystery novels; she is also a contributor to several anthologies of essays. She lives in Los Angeles and reports from NPR West.