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Tejano Star Selena Still Draws Sellout Crowd 20 Years After Death

In malls all across the U.S., customers stood on line for a much-hyped makeup collection get named after Selena Quintanilla, a Grammy award-winning Tejano superstar, who was shot and killed by a fan in 1995. The products are made by MAC Cosmetics, a subsidiary of Estee Lauder, with the cooperation of the singer's heirs.

On social media, fans posted photos of lines to purchase the makeup, saying some devotees even waited overnight. A number of stores reported they'd run out of the items, as did online sellers.

The singer's style has endured alongside her music. Her image as a self-possessed, confident performer, and the subsequent film about her life starring Jennifer Lopez, helped solidified Selena's stardom

The singer often wore ensembles, cutting edge for their time, that now are a part of the pop star uniform: sheer tops, bustiers, form-fitting body suits and animal prints.

But it's her makeup that in many ways has had the staying power. Selena's signature look included: strong eyebrows, lined eyelids, impeccable nails and perfectly lined lips in a brilliant shade of red.

The look has become so imitable that fans have posted Youtube videos that teach how to achieve the Selena look. The collection from MAC has lipsticks in the signature red, brushes, eye shadows, and blush that were inspired by Selena.

Makeup companies were criticized for decades for not having models of color, or shades that complimented their skin tones. Now, Estee Lauder's MAC has come to dominate the department store brands, especially with non-whites.

In many ways, the Selena makeup was created by her fans. A fan, Patti Rodriguez, helped create the movement that brought the makeup to stores. She told NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates in 2015 that, after suggesting to MAC that they create a collection, she started an online petition that quickly secured more than 37,000 signatures.

MAC reconsidered and announced they would release the line, which they did this week.

MAC says on its website that it's working on restocking the collection. A survey of Instagram shows a black market for the products has already begun.

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Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.
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