Christian Serratos stars as the Tejano music icon in Netflix's new Selena: The Series, out Dec. 4

Christian Serratos has been a Selena Quintanilla fan her entire life, so when she got the opportunity to play the iconic singer, she immediately felt the pressure.

“I’ve been listening to her since I was way below single digits,” Serratos, 30, tells PEOPLE. “'Baila Esta Kumbia’ (the second single released on Quintanilla’s 1990 'Ven Conmigo' album), that was my song as a baby. Then it became my karaoke song as a teenager. I’ve always looked up to and really admired her, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to play her.”

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Serratos stars as the Tejano music icon in Netflix’s new Selena: The Series (out Dec. 4), which follows the Mexican-American pop star’s incredible rise to fame and tragic murder.

Christian Serratos

“It was really intimidating to audition and to play her, but I felt prepared in life to accomplish what I think we did on this show,” says Serratos. “I gave it everything I could.”

Jennifer Lopez previously played the superstar in the 1997 biopic film, Selena.

Christian Serratos, Selena Quintanilla
| Credit: Michael Lavine/NETFLIX; Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

“This woman was a pioneer,” says Serratos of Quintanilla. “She was way before her time. Transitioning into mainstream pop music was not easy for a Mexican woman in the ‘80s, but she did it gracefully and with such strength. It’s something that I really look up to.”

The beloved singer was shot and killed just days before her 24th birthday by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and former fan club manager.

Since then, Quintanilla's posthumous album Dreaming of You has become the fastest-selling album by a female artist in pop history. “I wanted to portray her spirit above anything,” says Serratos. “That’s why I love her. I think that’s why we all love her.”

Selena: The Series premieres Friday on Netflix.