The untold truth of Christian Serratos

"Eclectic" is a word that springs to mind when describing the acting career of Christian Serratos. Starting with early teenage roles on TV comedies airing on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, the California-born actor made the often-tricky jump to grown-up parts with ease when she was cast in such projects as Twilight and then The Walking Dead.

Not only is Serratos part of one of television's most successful shows, she followed that up by landing the lead role in Selena: The Series. This biographical show from Netflix dramatizes the brief-yet-expansive life of Mexican-American singing sensation Selena Quintanilla, who was on the cusp of mainstream superstardom when she was tragically slain at the tender age of 23. For Serratos, playing this iconic figure is the fulfillment of a longtime dream that she discussed in a 2015 interview with MTV News. At that time, she expressed her desire to one day portray "somebody who is very famously Latina" — talk about a wish fulfilled.

A familiar face on television screens since the mid-2000s, this talented and determined actor has a lot of facets that her fans are only now beginning to discover. Keep reading to find out all about the untold truth of Christian Serratos.

Christian Serratos is a Nickelodeon and Disney graduate

When Christian Serratos celebrated her 30th birthday in September 2020, she'd been a working actor for half her life. As her IMDb page makes clear, she has been acting professionally since she was 14 years old. The Walking Dead star's early gigs include roles on Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, family drama 7th Heaven, Disney Channel's Cow Belles, and Miley Cyrus' mega-hit sitcom Hannah Montana. Her big break, however, came when she was cast in the recurring role of Suzie Crabgrass in Nickelodeon comedy Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, a role that led to her big-screen debut in the first Twilight movie.

Making the transition from kid-themed TV roles to more adult fare is a challenge faced by most child actors, and she was not immune. As Serratos explained in an interview with AskMen, "Anything you're cast into is hard to transition out of. When I was doing those shows, it was what people thought I could do. It's easy to become stereotyped, like with Twilight." She went on to say that she felt "fortunate" to nab parts on those kids shows because "those are the opportunities" that pop up when you're working as an actor at that age. "You've got to pay your dues with your roles," she said. 

There's no skating over Christian Serratos' other talents

Alongside her passion for acting, Christian Serratos was also a competitive figure skater, and she was no slouch. "My coaches were talking about the Olympics and it was really crazy," she told LePhant Magazine. "Now, I just do it for fun. Now when I want to relax, I just go to the rink and skate. I was at the rink every day for 10 years. I started when I was three."

In a subsequent interview for AMC, broadcaster of The Walking Dead, Serratos opened up even more about her involvement in the sport. "It's weird because people always ask, 'Did you grow up a tomboy or a girly girl?'" she shared. "I grew up doing competitive figure skating, and because of that I was trained in ballet and jazz."

While she no longer competes, Serratos still enjoys getting out on the ice. And while she enjoys taking people out on the ice, it doesn't always go well. "I once brought a date to the rink to have him experience what I was into," she told Maxim. "So all is going fine, and then — bam! — he bit it extremely hard! Skate time was over. His bruises were scary. I felt so bad."   

Being vegan is a big part of Christian Serratos' life

Christian Serratos was attending the 2013 Environmental Media Awards when she was asked to describe some of the ways she'd been going green. As she told E!, she's a "total advocate" for "not eating meat ... And I don't think a lot of people realize what goes into killing these animals, and the energy we're using, and the things that we're losing just to, you know, eat meat." In fact, she was proud to declare herself a vegan, telling E!'s interviewers, "I don't wear fur, I don't wear leather" 

In an interview for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (via BuzzFeed), Serratos revealed there were "a plethora of reasons" behind her decision to excise meat from her diet, one of which was her health. "When I stopped eating meat, I noticed that it was easier for me to focus," she explained. "I was eating meat and didn't know how it affected my health ... I just felt better and brighter and lighter, and I had more energy." Serratos went on to say that as "an animal lover" it is important that she is mindful of what she consumes.

The inspiring reason Christian Serratos posed naked

When it comes to supporting PETA, Christian Serratos has demonstrated extreme devotion to the cause of protecting animal rights. She proved that in 2009 when the actress, then 19, stripped down for a nude photo shoot on behalf of the organization's anti-fur campaign. In the resultant poster, Serratos is nude in a forest full of trees, with a tagline reading, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur."

Apparently, PETA didn't need to do a lot of arm-twisting to convince Serratos to take it all off. "That was something I wanted to do when I was really young," she told E! "Clearly I had to wait until I was 18, but I was itching to do it." That dream became a reality, but as Serratos explained to E!, her decision to pose in the buff for PETA was never about boosting her own career. "I wanted to raise awareness for the animals, not myself."

As she reiterated in an interview with AskMen, posing nude for PETA was something she "was passionate about at a young age" and called the poster one of her "proudest moments."

Christian Serratos has had to overcome Latinx stereotypes

As a proud Latinx woman, Christian Serratos has been blunt about Hollywood's tendency to stereotype actresses of Latin heritage. "Being Latin, your job is to be sexy," Serratos told MTV News. In fact, she pointed out that having people tell her to "do the accent" had become the "story of my f**king life." She recalled being cast as one of four leads in an indie film; while details of the other three characters had been fully fleshed out, her character was simply described as "the Latina friend."

The way she sees it, Hollywood places Latinx actors in a difficult position. "It's a rock and a hard place is what it is, because you're incredibly proud of your heritage and you want to be that for people — that's what you are; that's who you are," Serratos said. "Sometimes it's rough to go in on an audition where they need you to play an accent and speak the language, but on the other hand, it's really sad when they don't want that." She noted that she is "still personally figuring out" how she feels about it, before adding, "I just want chances."

Christian Serratos is a magnet for scary shows

Christian Serratos is best known for portraying Rosita Espinosa on The Walking Dead and Angela Weber in the Twilight movies. Among her other credits is the pilot episode of American Horror Story. Given that she's worked with zombies, vampires, werewolves, and whatever that latex-clad weirdo in American Horror Story was, is she just naturally drawn to horror projects? 

"I'm starting to think they're more drawn to me!" she admitted in an interview for AMC. "I do like the realness of the acting that you do you on things like The Walking Dead. It's not just a show about zombies, it really has to do with people, their will to survive and what's going through in their heads."

The element of basic survival that's at the core of The Walking Dead, she explained, was one of the key reasons she's connected far more deeply with Rosita than she ever did with the comedic characters she'd played previously. "That kind of acting is a lot more personal to me," she explained. "I think I'm funny, but it's just a different thing being good at comedy, and I just happen to be good at this."

Christian Serratos isn't afraid to die on the Walking Dead

Faithful viewers of The Walking Dead have long since learned not to get too attached to their favorite characters, given that so many have met grisly fates that fans didn't see coming. When Rosita's Walking Dead journey finally reaches the end of the line, Christian Serratos will be more than ready for it. "I know that at some point my character is going to die," she declared in an interview with Men's Journal. "When it comes, it's going to be great!"

Discussing the show with AskMen, Serratos was asked, in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, whether she would rather be one member of a small crew of survivors or part of a far bigger team. "I would want to be in a larger group," she revealed. "Personally, it would give me a sense of security, that we aren't a force to be messed with. I'd stay in the center of the group, and stay in shape! I've just got to be able to outrun the rest of them!" Can't argue with that strategy.

Christian Serratos has love on the brain

Christian Serratos is in a longterm relationship with David Boyd, frontman for Danish rock band New Politics. In March 2017, a source told People that Serratos and Boyd were expecting a baby, with the couple later announcing their first child had arrived.

While Serratos keeps a tight lid on discussing her private life, she did open up about one unique aspect of her relationship with Boyd — specifically, the time she stabbed him in the brain. Naturally, that took place onscreen, for an episode of The Walking Dead in which Boyd had been enlisted to play a walker. As Serratos recalled for Entertainment Weekly, she and the show's special effects guru Greg Nicotero discussed how Boyd "has just the perfect face for the walker makeup. Like, there are very specific requirements to be a walker, and David had all those requirements, so yeah, he was a walker."

Once Boyd was transformed into a zombie, the rest was inevitable. "I was like, well, if we're going to have him on the show, I need to kill him," she said. "So he was a walker in the episode with me and [co-star] Sonequa [Martin-Green], and I killed him." It really gives "romance is dead" an entirely new meaning, doesn't it?

There was a reason for the Walking Dead's 'Rositaless-ness'

When Christian Serratos became pregnant in 2016, it led to some challenges for producers of The Walking Dead, given that her character, Rosita Espinosa, was decidedly not pregnant. 

To accommodate Serratos, the show's writers rejigged the storyline to explain Rosita's absence for several episodes to accommodate her pregnancy. That resulted in Rosita being shot — but not killed — during an altercation with the rival group known as the Saviors. With Rosita wounded and recovering, this would ensure the character wouldn't be involved in any of the show's other ongoing storylines while she convalesced. 

At the time, Walking Dead exec producer Scott Gimple told Entertainment Weekly that the start of the eighth season would feature "a notable sort of Rosita-lessness," while the character regained her strength after being shot at the end of the previous season. "So, timing-wise, we missed Espinosa a little bit, but she was healing up from her wounds," he added. 

Christian Serratos' daughter's privacy is top priority

In March 2017, a source told People that Christian Serratos was pregnant. The insider also shared that Serratos and partner David Boyd were "extremely happy and have been looking forward to starting a family." She subsequently announced the arrival of her first child on Instagram, posting a photo of herself and her newborn baby on Mother's Day of that same year. 

Initially, Serratos didn't reveal the sex of her child, but later shared another photo on Father's Day for a gender reveal. In that since-deleted post, reported E!, Serratos featured a photo of her baby in a bassinet, clad in pink, indicating she'd welcomed a daughter.

Since then, Serratos has kept her life as a mother more or less under wraps, although she has shared the occasional photo on social media. In one, taken on the set of The Walking Dead shortly after giving birth, she's breastfeeding her baby while applying makeup (even including a sassy caption to preemptively respond to the backlash she was expecting). In another, she's seen holding the baby while she and Boyd are out at Disney California Adventure Park.

Playing Selena was 'an actor's dream challenge'

In August 2019, Deadline reported Christian Serratos was "in talks" to play Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla in a forthcoming scripted series. Later that year, Netflix released a teaser trailer for Selena: The Series that indicated those "talks" came to fruition. In its logline, Netflix described the series about the singer — who was just 23 at the time of her 1995 murder — as "a coming-of-age story following Selena Quintanilla as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music."

For Serratos, who was 29 at the time of the casting announcement, portraying Quintanilla at differing points in her life was one of the biggest challenges she faced. "I was constantly going back and forth from 20 years old in the morning and then 14 in the afternoon!" she said in an interview with TV Insider. "There were a lot of wig changes...everything changed: dialect, mannerisms. It was a lot to keep track of."

Despite the difficulties, jumping from one age to another at the drop of a hat, she had to admit, "was definitely an actor's dream challenge." Sounds bidi-bidi-awesome.

Christian Serratos pulled out all the stops to portray Selena

When Christian Serratos first learned that Netflix was tackling the life of Selena Quintanilla, she saw the opportunity she'd been working toward for her entire career. So resolved was Serratos to land the role, she told TV Insider, before her audition she cut her hair to look the way the late singer had worn hers, and immediately embarked on a training regimen to get into top shape. "I knew that if I waited to start prepping, it was already going to be too late," she explained.

When the first brief teaser for Selena: The Series was unveiled, Serrato's uncanny resemblance to Quintanilla was impossible to ignore. As Nylon wrote, Serratos' "transformation" into the singer "will have you doing a double take." Meanwhile, Yahoo! Life declared that "Christian Serratos looks exactly like Selena."

The slain singer's sister, Suzette Quintanilla, is one of the series' exec producers, and took to Instagram to comment on Serratos' casting and the seriousness with which they're approaching the project. "Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory," she wrote. Serratos had big boots to fill, but as Selena's father, Abraham Quintanilla, told Reforma (via Hola!), "We all agreed that she was the best."