Selena Gomez did her first big interview of the year, appearing on Coach’s first episode of its new Dream It Real podcast. The singer and actress spoke about authenticity on the show and truly opened up about the impact childhood Disney fame had on the way she presents and sees herself, how therapy has helped her, how her friends have literally saved her life, and why Instagram can be so “unhealthy” for her and everyone.
Gomez revealed a lot about herself in the rare extended interview, but her most telling point was her response to people who think she’s just PR-trained to act the way she is and be non-controversial.
“I’ve had great moments, bad moments, whatever,” she started when asked what people don’t know about her. “I always say this and maybe I repeated it too much, but I don’t really think people know my heart because I think that sometimes people may think that I politically say the right thing or I’m safe or I’ve been trained to speak this way. I don’t know how to be trained, like how on earth would someone be training me to speak things?”
Gomez also added that she isn’t into being judged on her looks either. “I don’t really appreciate people judging me on my looks or anything like that. I just think that the world today, with so much exposure to everything, it’s great to dress up and to feel beautiful and to do those things. I’m flattered when maybe guys are like, ‘You’re pretty.’ I am, but it’s just—I would just love someone to love me for the person that I am. That’s just what’s important to me, you know?”
Here, other highlights from Gomez’s chat. You can listen to the podcast in full here.
On shedding her persona: “I think there came a point in my life where I just started not to care….Obviously my situation is different and very weird but when I was younger, I was exposed to all of this [fame]. It was just all these pictures and all the things and all I would do is look at the flaws.” That kind of attention, “it is hard. And I think that you kind of create this other persona of yourself and then when I started going through real, really difficult things, it [not caring and ultimately being authentic] just allowed me to have worth, to know that I’m worthy and that I am who I am. And who is that? And do I like that person? I think that it’s important for me. I don’t want to be anything that’s a show or a persona. I just don’t.”
Gomez admitted that being on the Disney Channel did “kind of” teach her to be polished and perfect. “It just taught me so much about being a role model, you know? That was the first thing that I started so they were very apparent on being perfect, I guess, just making sure that you’re being a good influence on people. I’m grateful that I had that opportunity because I understand what a platform means.”
On what her new album, which is coming out this year, will be like: There will be no collaborations on it, Gomez said. “Working on this new record, I just wanted it to be me, all me. Every song is a story I’ve experienced. To that point, I think there’s no one who’s going to tell my story better than myself. I just really wanted to kind of just live with my story a bit and create it into something that means a lot to me.”
On how too much Instagram is unhealthy: “It is not that healthy to be on it all the time because I noticed with me, I got kind of depressed looking at these people who look beautiful and amazing, and it would just get me down a lot so I just think taking breaks is really important. But just know that most of it isn’t real. And I hate to say that, I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s very unrealistic in a lot of ways, and I think that for me, I want to protect the youngest generation because they are exposed to so much information, and I feel like that causes a lot of anxiety at the youngest age. Like, I didn’t grow up with that. I had dial-up internet. I think that sometimes people are exposed to too much, and you should really protect what you’re seeing and be mindful, be really mindful of how it makes you feel.”
On the impact therapy has made on her: “I am a believer of therapy….I wish I could have done a lot of things and experienced things maybe a little differently [when I was younger]. But I go to therapy.” She laughed.
Therapy “is [hard] but it’s amazing. It’s just hard. One of my friends asked you know, I want to start going to therapy, [and I said,] ‘It’s good, just tell me how your first experience goes.’ And she’s like, ‘I don’t really know, and I just didn’t really like it.’ And I said to her, ‘You have to just give it a month because you can’t go in and do that, and it’s hard for people to open up.’ But I think that it’s just one of the most important things to get to know yourself. Not saying everyone in the world has to do it…but I do think that it’s helped me understand myself and my childhood a lot better.”
Her message to fans: “You’re enough. You’re absolutely enough. And if you deal with things that are really difficult like family issues, or anxiety, depression or substance issues, I just think that you’re never too far gone. I really believe that. I think every person is valuable and important and we are all equal and not to, I always feel like I get cheesy, but it’s genuinely from my heart. I care about the world and the only message that I would say is that you’re enough. That you are valued and even if you feel absolutely alone, that there are millions of people that feel that way, and I want to encourage them to get to know who they are and it’s really hard. It’s really, really hard. I don’t want people to think it’s labeled on and it’s gone. I spent years of my life trying to navigate who I am and overcome so many obstacles. So I don’t think it’s easy. I believe in people and I’ve seen amazing people go through the hardest things, and it inspires me.”
On how her friends have literally saved her and why having healthy friendships is so important for all girls: “I have three amazing, amazing friends [Ashley Cook, Raquelle Stevens, and Courtney Lopez] and they are supportive, they are encouraging and when one of us maybe slips and falls, we aren’t afraid to be honest with each other. I just find that when I’m around other people or when I bring my friends with me to some places, people talk about our friendship, and I want girls to have that because it’s just so competitive and it’s very catty. I’ve seen a lot of cattiness, and I think it’s so important to have healthy friendships. I really do. I mean my friends, without a doubt, have saved my life in multiple situations. I mean that. Because they’re honest, they’re loving, they unconditionally love, they never judge, and they give me sound advice. And all my friends are different: one’s in real estate, one works in social media, one works in foundations. It’s just great. We’re all so different and we love each other.”
On one important intervention her friends had with her: “I got a little caught up because it happens when I’m working, and I start second guessing some of the opportunities that I’ve had and maybe I’m like, ‘I don’t think this is good. And oh, I wish I could have done that, I wish, I wish, I wish.’ And they would kind of stop me and they’d say, ‘you have been given so much.’ And that in that moment, it was just, ‘oh my gosh you’re absolutely right. I am extremely, extremely blessed. I have been given so much.’ And it changes the dialogue I have with myself. And that, you know, that moment that I’m revving myself up to the point where I was going to cry because I feel I wasn’t doing enough or like I missed chances on things, in that moment just them saying that ‘you have been given so much and take care of that but you can’t compare,’ they do that often and it’s amazing.”