You can’t deny that Selena Gomez has shown amazing resilience when it comes to handling the darker side of fame – one of her most underrated qualities, in our humble opinion.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight, goes the Japanese proverb; meaning, when life knocks you down, you’ve got to stand right back up. We can’t help but think of Selena Gomez when it comes to this saying, because life in the limelight hasn’t been easy on this girl.
The last time we did a Selena Gomez cover story, she had just finished her concert in Singapore as part of her Revival World Tour.
Shortly after, she announced that she would be cancelling the Europe and Latin America leg of the tour to deal with the anxiety and depression brought on by lupus. She then checked into rehab to focus on her mental health, something that she has always been very open about.
“I wish more people would talk about therapy,” she said in the April issue of Vogue, when she appeared on its cover. “We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”
For a while there, it seemed like we would have to wait a long time to see more of the 25-year-old starlet. But just half a year later, she popped up on the airwaves again, this time lending her vocals to Kygo’s infectious hit “It Ain’t Me”. That was followed up with “Bad Liar” back in May. Sampling Talking Heads, this unique sound has quickly become a staple for radio stations, and has already been nominated for multiple awards. And then, most recently, the seductive “Fetish”, featuring Gucci Mane.
Selena is definitely on the bounce back, showing all of us in the process that the important thing is to not focus on the proverbial lemons that life hands you – you just need to learn how to make some delicious lemonade instead.
Unlike some of her predecessors and peers, Selena wasn’t too keen on going down the provocative route in a bid to establish her identity outside of the Disney channel. Instead, what we’ve seen is a gradual maturation of her sound and image. Her 2013 hit “Come & Get It” was pop perfection, while last year’s album Revival revealed a sensuality we hadn’t seen from Selena before.
But after watching her first two singles released this year, we’ve just got one burning question – when did Selena get so… sexy? There’s no denying that she’s always been hot, but it’s like suddenly, the eye makeup’s gotten smokier; and her voice has become this sultry, breathy whisper that we can’t seem to get enough of.
“I’ve been doing this for so long and I needed a second to breathe,” she told Ryan Seacrest in a radio interview. “When I did that, I came back and I had it for a while, and I think it’s safe to say I feel like I have a whole album put together at this point.
“I just wanted to make sure my life was balanced and happy and healthy first.”
There’s no official word on it yet, but we think we can expect a new album from the songstress soon.
“I’ve been in the studio for a year. So I can technically say I have an album, but I don’t know where I want to go with it because of how different everything sounds. Every song I’m setting up to be a single is just completely separate from each other and I love that. So I don’t know where it’s gonna go, but I can say I have an album because it’s a lot of music,” she said on AMP Radio in June.
Already, music critics are unanimously fawning over “Fetish” and “Bad Liar”, lauding the pop princess’ surprising experimentation with sub-genres. She was right, she needed that break to come back stronger.
I just wanted to make sure my life was balanced and happy and healthy first.
This is who I am. I’m glad my life was never perfect.
Here’s something else you might not have known: if you binge- watched 13 Reasons Why and followed the discussion about mental health and suicide prevention that closely followed it, well, you have Selena Gomez to thank for that. She served as the executive producer for the Netflix series, and has been very vocal about how the show addresses issues that are close to her heart. In fact, she reached out to the novel’s author, Jay Asher, eight years ago to talk about how she felt deeply connected to the book.
“People have seen most of the choices that I’ve made in my life. And I love every choice that I’ve made. Because now I understand how to apply that to my music. This is who I am. I’m glad my life was never perfect,” she mused in a 2016 Rolling Stone interview.
Given the tabloid attention surrounding her last public romance, it’s understandable that Selena Gomez is cautious about talking about her relationship with Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd. In her Vogue interview, she declined answering questions about their relationship, saying that things she’s said before have come back to bite her and she’ll never do it again.
Instead, she’s taking control of her own narrative this time round, giving the public what they want but on her own terms. Whether it’s via red carpet appearances, public displays of affections or, of course, Instagram posts. It’s not that she’s shying away from talking about her beau, she’s just doing it her way.
“I just have always been that girl. I will give my heart and my soul to the person that I love. It’s just how I operate,” she said in a radio interview earlier this year.
And you know what? We’re rooting for you, Selena.
Images TPG/Click Photos Text Sophie Hong.