Singer/actress Selena Gomez has been in the spotlight for 18 years. Now, Selena has opened up to Business of Fashion for their ‘Generation Next’ issue on what it was like being a child star, and how growing up in the spotlight changed her idea of fame.
On being a child star
“I’ve been doing it since I was seven,” Selena said. “To be honest I don’t think I know anything different. It was good training, but I’m going to give the credit to my mom, because she was very aware, for some reason, of what could happen to me.
“She always said to me that I should have fun, and if it wasn’t fun or if I wasn’t learning something or I wasn’t growing as a person, she wanted to take me out of it. She said, ‘This entire industry is going to tell you you’re perfect and you’re great, and I’m going to tell you that you’re no better or bigger than anyone. You are the person that you are, and you are very lucky,'” she said.
“That’s something that’s always been replaying in my head. She just taught me to be kind, and that’s about understanding where I’m at. But it got harder the older I was getting. I was actually more confident when I was younger than I am now.”
On how her idea of fame has changed
“I think it changed when I started getting known for things that weren’t [related to] my work,” Selena said. “That’s when my passion started to really feel like it was going further and further away. And that scared me.
“When I was younger, it was all fun to me. When I did state fairs and 100 people would show up, I would be stoked. That was the best feeling in the world. But when I got older, I started to become exposed to the truth behind some stuff and that’s when it flipped a little bit. I realised that, ‘Oh this is actually really hard, and kind of slimy in certain areas,’ and I didn’t realise that certain people wanted certain things from me. My confidence went through a lot with that.,” she said
“I remember just feeling really violated when I was younger, even just being on the beach. I was maybe 15 or 16 and people were taking pictures — photographers,” Selena explained. “I don’t think anyone really knew who I was. But I felt very violated and I didn’t like it or understand it, and that felt very weird, because I was a young girl and they were grown men. I didn’t like that feeling.
“Then, I would say the last season of my show, I was probably 18 years old, is when I felt like the flip happened. I didn’t feel like it was about my art as much. I was on the fourth season of the show, and I felt like I was outgrowing it. I wanted something different and obviously I fell in love for the first time. There was all this stuff that was happening and I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
“I stopped and then I continued, because I realised that I needed to challenge myself. Do I really love this? Is this worth it anymore? I would look at my crowd on tour and think, ‘Yes, this is worth it, right?’ But then I would look at myself in the mirror and I just felt like ‘I’ve had enough, I don’t know if I can go on anymore.’ And I stopped it for a second. But it didn’t mean that I didn’t love it, I just had to find what I was going to do with it. As long as I’m healthy and happy in my mind, I’m all about it.”
On where she’s going from here
“I’ve been through a lot, and I was so young, and there were so many moments where I felt like, ‘You know what, I’m done.’ But there is this fire in me that I can’t explain,” Selena said.
“I’ll have two days off and it burns. There’s something inside me that knows I’m supposed to be doing something. I want to be communicating and creating and being stimulated. I want to keep doing things, keep progressing. I always want to challenge myself. So, I want to do the best that I can possibly do. It’s cheesy but it’s the truth.”
Check out more from Selena’s interview in the new issue of Business of Fashion or right here!