Former Disney Channel actress Selena Gomez is on top of her game. She has a top-selling new single with Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo; a cover spread in Vogue magazine; and to top it off, Gomez is executive-producing the upcoming Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which is based on the young adult novel by Jay Asher.
Despite her success, life has not always been easy for Selena Gomez. The 24-year-old pop star spoke to The New York Times about all the bullying she endured as one of Disney Channel’s biggest stars.
Selena Gomez Describes Disney Channel as ‘the Biggest High School in the World’
Early Life and Career
Selena Gomez began her career as one of the lead actresses in the children’s program Barney and Friends. She starred alongside Demi Lovato for the show that spanned fourteen episodes. After garnering enough experience, Gomez auditioned for a variety of roles for Disney Channel. Her very first gig with the company was as Gwen, a guest character in the TV program The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Gomez’s big break came when she got the part of Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place. The series made her a star, and she received numerous awards and nominations for her performance.
Selena’s Personal Life and Mainstream Success
After becoming a household name, public interest surrounding Selena Gomez grew and grew. The actress proved to be a triple threat: singing, dancing, and acting on various Disney projects. But it was not just Gomez’s talents that were racking up headlines, so was her personal life.
Gomez briefly dated fellow Disney star Nick Jonas in 2008. Her most buzzed-about relationship was with Justin Bieber, with whom she had an and off relationship for several years.
Shedding the Disney Channel Image
In 2012, Wizards of Waverly Place officially ended its run on Disney Channel. That same year, Selena Gomez decided to explore life outside the Disney borders, starring in projects that are not distributed by the company. She started off with Hotel Transylvania, the hit animated film where the actress starred alongside Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi.
From then on, Gomez continued to build an edgier image to the public. She starred in a number of adult comedies, began recording more mature music, and showed a sexier, darker look. Despite the change, Gomez’s loyal fans stuck with her. She is now at the top of her game after dealing with a number of road bumps and haters along the way.
For the promotion of 13 Reasons Why, Gomez likened the show’s main theme of bullying to her real life.
“I think he understood that I knew what it meant to be bullied,” the singer told The New York Times. “I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel. And my mom had a lot of history dealing with [bullying]. I heard her stories growing up. She’s very open about it.”
The bullying seemed to have followed Gomez even with her Disney days already over. As the most-followed celebrity on Instagram, she still deals with a lot of hateful comments. To relieve herself from the negativity, the actress says that she needs to “delete the app from my phone at least once a week.”
Selena Gomez, who suffered from mental and physical health issues, has truly come a long way from playing Alex Russo. She continues to be one the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood today.