#WCIW: Selena Gomez
Resilient. Authentic. Advocate.
Selena Gomez is known world-wide as a singer and actress, and is now using her notoriety to raise awareness of physical and mental health issues. She nabbed her first role as a child in 2002, and since then her star has risen. Now the 25 year old is focusing her energy on being honest about difficult issues that plague so many like her; anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. Her struggles even motivated her to produce the controversial series about teen suicide, 13 Reasons Why. Meanwhile, Gomez is also wrestling with a recent diagnosis of Lupus—an incurable autoimmune disorder that can cause severe pain, arthritis, and even kidney failure.
Her career took off when Selena caught the attention of executives from Disney and became one of the Disney Darlings of the mid-2000s. While her show, Wizards of Waverly Place and several kid-friendly motion pictures effectively launched her career, Gomez has grown up and made wise career decisions in order to transition from a children’s performer into a chart-topping powerhouse and mogul. After launching her solo career, 18-year-old Selena was hospitalized for the first time for malnourishment and exhaustion. Gomez has always made a point to be very open and frank about her health—both mental and physical—her hospital stays, her therapy, and the way her life is impacted by both. She has been interviewed about her rehabilitative hospital stay to treat anxiety, depression, panic disorder, and to work on her self-esteem after a tumultuous relationship and her career and social media explosion. She has also incorporated her therapy sessions and personal struggles into the lyrics and videos of her more recent albums.
In a recent Vogue interview, Selena said, “People so badly wanted me to be authentic and when that happened, finally, it was a huge release. I’m not different from what I put out there. I’ve been very vulnerable with my fans, and sometimes I say things I shouldn’t. But I have to be honest with them. I feel that’s a huge part of why I’m where I am.” She is also a major advocate for mental health. After a 90-day rehab stay in August of 2016, Gomez continues to see her therapist up to five days per week and says, “I wish more people would talk about therapy. 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.” Gomez also tackled the issue of mental health in teenaged girls through producing the Netflix limited series 13 Reasons Why. The show, which is adapted from a novel by Jay Asher, focuses on teen suicide, depression, bullying, and the impact that social media can have on an adolescent’s mental and physical well-being.
In addition to releasing albums, touring, and advocating for mental and physical health, Selena is also the face of Coach. At a New York Fashion Week event for the brand, she was adamant about taking the time to meet and take photos with every single fan—of whom there were thousands—despite the fact that she had undergone major surgery only a few weeks prior when she donated a kidney to a friend.
For Selena Gomez’s unflinching honesty about her physical and mental health, her astounding resiliency, and her realistic and hopeful outlook on life, Selena Gomez is this week’s #WCIW.