Recently, Selena Gomez made the cover of Time magazine and talked about what the word “strength” means to her.
Separately, she also shared a rare photo of herself with her boyfriend, The Weeknd.
But that’s not all. Now, Selena is opening up about feeling “violated” as a teen starlet — and telling the world about what it felt like to fall in love for the first time.
Selena Gomez sat down with The Business of Fashion this week and talked about her experiences as a young performer.
For one thing, she doesn’t know what it’s like to not be an entertainer.
“I’ve been doing it since I was seven. To be honest, I don’t think I know anything different.”
That’s amazing, right?
She also talks about how her mom always looked out for her.
“She was very aware, for some reason, of what could happen to me.”
That’s a parent’s first job, really.
A lot of young stars are prime targets for people who want to exploit their careers and overwork them.
Tragically, some young stars — who might experience unusual levels of independence for their ages — are targeted by sexual predators within the entertainment industry.
Selena’s mom also didn’t fall into the “Stage Mom” trap.
“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.”
Have any of you ever had to deal with stage moms?
For a summer job that I had as a teenager, I once had to deal with a mother who wanted her preschool age daughter to perform on stage because, even though it is dangerous for children that young to be up on a stage and they don’t really need the pressure of performing.
We’re glad that Selena had a much better experience.
Being in this business, she says, became more difficult as she got older.
“I was actually more confident when I was younger than I am now. I think it changed when I started getting known for things that weren’t [related to] my work… When I was younger, it was all fun to me.”
That makes sense. When she became a huge celebrity, Selena became the subject of gossip.
“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.”
It sounds like there was more than public perception at play with her disappointment as she got older, though.
“I realized, ‘Oh this is actually really hard, and kind of slimy in certain areas,’ and I didn’t realize that certain people wanted certain things from me. My confidence went through a lot with that.”
If you think that that sounds creepy, you’re right.
“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. I don’t think anyone really knew who I was. But I felt very violated and I didn’t like it or understand it.”
There’s a difference between going “hey, that girl’s gorgeous” and taking a bunch of creepy pictures of her while she’s minding her own business.
Some of that exposure comes with being a celebrity.
But at 15, Selena shouldn’t have had to deal with that.
“That felt very weird, because I was a young girl and they were grown men. I didn’t like that feeling.”
When she was 18, though, Selena experienced a turning point.
She was still starring on Wizards of Waverly Place (which was a charming show — no iCarly, but miles ahead of Hannah Montana), and she felt like she needed to stretch her legs.
“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.”
Some people never fall in love, of course. Either they’re aromantic or they just never meet the right people or get to form the right connections.
But while most people do fall in love multiple times, it’s rare for anyone’s first love to be as famous as Selena Gomez’s romance with Justin Bieber.
We’re really glad that she’s moved on since those days.
And so, we’re sure, is she.