Jennifer Lopez portrayed the late Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the 1997 film about the singer, Selena. And as the 20th anniversary of Selena's passing approaches, J. Lo reflected on her experience making the movie.

Selena was only 23 years old when the president of her fan club fatally shot her  in the parking lot of a hotel on March 31, 1995. Although she was still on her way to becoming a worldwide superstar at the time of her death, she made her mark on the Latin community — especially in her hometown, Corpus Cristi, Texas — with Tejano music. Looking back on Selena's life and her role in the film, Lopez revealed what it was like re-creating a major concert at the Houston Astrodome.

"It was a real concert; 30,000 to 40,000 people showed up, just for her, for that scene, to re-create it," Lopez told Billboard. "Afterward, her mom came and hugged me and held me and cried. It was very emotional. It touched the family very much. For me as an actress, at that moment I had learned how to really become a performer and give everything I had to the audience. That really freed me up, and it was a very ­powerful moment."

Working on Selena made her realize she could be more than an actress, and soon after Lopez began to pursue music.

"It had a lot to do with it — all those performances," Jennifer said. "I sang in musicals before, but as part of a cast, never as a solo artist up front or a recording ­artist," she said. "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.'"

And although she's viewed as one of the biggest Latin stars in the business, Jennifer still feels that Selena will never be replaced.

"It has always bugged me that people would try to think that there's a 'next Selena,'" she revealed to Billboard. "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. And as far as music goes, that's what's beautiful about artistry. Somebody is going to come along and move the world in a different way. There was Celia Cruz, there's Gloria Estefan. I'm still around. Marc Anthony is an iconic Latin artist, Ricky Martin. But it's not something that happens all the time. It's a special thing that Selena had. That's why we're still talking about her 20 years later."

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