If there is anything that’s true about Jackie Guerra, it’s that she is a ray of the realist sunshine you’ll ever see! She’s come a long way and her road has been anything but easy, it’s actually been pretty harsh! When I approached Jackie about doing the empowering women interview she was so excited to chat with me and share her experience. After all she’s lost close to 200 lbs and looks totally different from the part she played as Suzette Quintanilla in the movie Selena! One of the first things I told Jackie was how much I loved her part as “Suzette” in the movie Selena and I appreciated the role she played so well, as she introduced Suzette to so many of the fans! The Quintanilla family has always been and still is a very private family and although everyone knew and loved Selena, fans did not know much about the family. Jackie brought Suzette’s funny, sarcastic, boss- like personality to life. I remember seeing the movie for the first time and thinking “Hey I’m a lot like Suzette” I related to her character and her lines in the movie have been some of my favorite scenes till this day. So thank you for that Jackie!
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In 2006 Jackie wrote her book Under Construction, How I’ve gained and lost millions of dollars and hundreds of pounds!, a personal memoir which I’ve read and I loved because I learned so much about her from reading this book! She shares her happy up bringing around her supportive family, her can-do mindset that her parents instilled in her, and of course her road to weight loss and the entertainment industry.
One of the first things that Jackie said to me after our laughs y saludos was when she saw my questions, she had to think long and hard about what she wanted to share in this interview and how much she wanted to share. I wasn’t sure how to take it, but I quickly learned that all the things I thought I knew about Jackie, was a sheer coating of the real person inside. This empowering interview is incredibly opened and honest, as Jackie decided to share things that she hasn’t before. We both learned a lot about strength and empowerment by doing this project together and I can’t thank her enough for her bravery, her compassion and her realness in sharing her story!
M: Where has Jackie been all this time, you went from a huge blockbuster film, to stand up comedy, to writing a few books and hosting your DIY Jewelry show…What’s next for you and what do you hope to accomplish?
Jackie: For last 3 years I’m been living in Mexico and now I’m in Los Angeles. I’m finally pursuing my dream of having a talk show, it’s in development now and I hope to have the pilot down by this fall! I went with stand up comedy as the platform to get my foot into the entertainment industry, but I always wanted my own talk show. My agents would say “how about a movie or a sitcom” so I would go after those parts that were available to me …But if there is one thing I’m good at it’s listening and a talk show is what I really want to do!
“Love and Treat yourself with the Respect that you deserve and watch how the world around you responds” – Jackie Guerra
M: You know we all loved you in the Selena Movie… What were your best memories of playing “Suzette”, how was the experience and what did you take away from it?
Jackie: I was very grateful and humbled to be apart of the Selena Movie, I went into it with a lot of love and commitment. I’m not someone who is short on words. But sometimes I’m overwhelmed with how it’s evolved and that I’m apart of it. Like you said, it’s an iconic film that has lasted through generations and generations of Latinos and it’s apart us! I did anything and everything to get this part, some things I would say you shouldn’t do, but I went for it with all I had because I really wanted this part. I even told casting directors that I knew how to play the drums when I really didn’t, but I secretly learned how to play in my hotel room during filming.
Imagine playing someone who is right there watching you, it was really hard, but Suzette was so nice and welcomed me into her home and was very generous with her time. The entire Quintanilla family was apart of the movie and production every step of the way. You know it was a really raw time and there was a lot of emotion, but I don’t think any of us thought the movie would be what it is today!
M: How would you describe the real Suzette Quintanilla?
Jackie: Suzette is the secret weapon of the family, she does it all, she’s the classy, funny, bad-ass, peacemaker, that is the first one to the party and the first one to know when to shut it down. I’m very grateful for her friendship to this very day!
M- Your book is so eye opening. We are always under construction in some way, shape or form. One of your biggest “construction sites” has been your weight loss. How has this weight loss changed your life?
Jackie: I was 340 lbs and I went down to 170. I wasn’t ready for the way the world would see me. I mean people didn’t recognize me, my own brother walked passed me in the mall, my agents didn’t know what to do with me. I wasn’t the bubbly chubby girl anymore, I had to change my whole mindset. During my time of doing stand up comedy, I would start my show with “Watch out ladies, hold onto your men”, And at 340 lbs, they would laugh, but when I came out and said the same line at 170 lbs, the women didn’t think it was so funny and the men liked it! It was really a shock to see how the world around me changed, especially with people that were close to me.
“How dare we say… I don’t know if I’m strong enough …Don’t be afraid, Don’t live in fear” – Jackie Guerra
M- You came from such a loving and supportive family. How did this help you deal with all that would come your way as you were challenged in your life?
Jackie: My parents were very loving and instilled a very “can-do” attitude in my brother and I. My mother had a hard childhood and I think that she wanted us to have the sense that we could do anything? However this mindset did not prepare me for the doors that I had to bust through…even generosity to an extreme can be flaw. My parents did the best they could and they wanted us to go out there do it all, but I didn’t learn how to do those things or have the tools to protect myself from uncertain situations. This is why I taught myself boundaries, because I would push myself and keep going when I was actually dying inside.
Addiction is in my DNA and I suffered a lot from eating addictions to alcohol addictions, cross additions and from also being a victim of sexual abuse, but I couldn’t share this with my parents because I didn’t want them to feel at fault. I also didn’t share this in book because it wasn’t the right time and I was not in a good place… but I healed through therapy and I learned to live in the shades of grey. It’s so important for me to share my experience, I never had children and I can’t have children, but I am and want to be a mother to my community and share my experience to empower women to have a voice, love yourself, be confident and celebrate yourself!
If I learned anything from Jackie it’s to be proud of the road you are on, that even if your road is bumpy … there is a way to make it through. It’s learning that talking through your problems is okay, and seeking help is acceptable, learning other ways to get to your “good place” is still surviving!
Thank you Jackie for sharing your story, for being an amazing human, guerrera, chingona and a nasty woman!
You can follow Jackie on Instagram so you don’t miss out an all the exciting projects she has in the works!
Talkin' to "El Gordo y La Flaca" from The Selena Auditorium in Corpus Christi en Español, Y'all!😂💜🤠 . . . . . . . . . . #peace #love #fdlf #corpuschristi #texas #selenaquintanilla #tejanoqueen #press #tejano #selenafans #reunited #memories #girldrummer #fun #latina #familia #pride #grateful #sisepuede #selenalaleyenda #selenawaxfigure #elgordoylaflaca