SELENA Gomez is never far from being in the news. The former child actor turned singer and fashion designer has returned to acting in a major way.
Gomez, who was serenaded by former boyfriend Justin Bieber at a hotel in Beverly Hills on November 20, has now taken One Direction singer Niall Horan home to her parents for dinner. Gomez, who revealed last month she is battling lupus, posed nude for the cover of her new album Revival and is appearing in an array of movies and TV shows.
What’s it been like growing up in front of a camera for the past 10 years?
It’s awkward. The misconception of being a child star is that you’re forced into it. A lot of directors or musicians or writers are like, ‘Do you have an identity? Did your parents make you do this?’ The moment I hit 18 I was desperate to prove that I had my own voice. I didn’t like that people thought that I was just this one-dimensional person when I knew I had all these sides to myself.
So you’ve matured, you’re 23 now, but are you really grown up enough to be playing a mother in Hotel Transylvania 2?
I had two roles this year playing a mother! I was like, hmmm … But the Hotel Transylvania one was wonderful because it’s a deeper message than just being a mum; it’s about having someone in your life that’s different. Using monsters and humans, it’s a way to talk to your kids about being different and learning what that means and embracing that. Especially if your kid wants to express themselves in a different way. And my movie son is really cute.
After the first Hotel Transylvania movie, what did kids tell you they loved about the character you voice, Mavis?
They first question they ask me is if I’m a real vampire. They ask if I sleep upside down. The best part is they wanna meet Dracula. It’s usually a lot of younger boys that love this movie — they’re like, ‘I have a crush on Mavis’ and I’m like, ‘Call me when you’re 18’. It’s cute.
Are you OK with being a role model for young girls?
Honestly, it’s been the best gift. I don’t mean that in a cheesy way. What I would say to any young girl, about anybody they’re looking up to, is: What did that person do to get there? Do they have good work ethic? Did they chase their dreams? Are they good women? I’m not the best, but I hope that anybody who looks at me will say: She came from Texas, she’s been working since she was seven, she works hard, she loves her fans, she tries to be the best she can, she looks bad in that picture, she looks good in that picture — at least it’s me being who I am. The problem is, I think some of these girls look up to people who don’t have the best intentions … By no means am I perfect. But my hope is that they really love on someone that will make them feel like they can do anything.
Whose career do you admire?
I love everyone from Meryl Streep to Kate Winslet to Rachel McAdams. I think their choices are singular. Rachel, she did Mean Girls and Notebook to Red Eye andWedding Crashers — comedy, thriller, drama, romance. They reinvent themselves for a character. I love that.
You made a movie with Ethan Hawke a few years ago. He was a child actor who’s gone on to have a very interesting career — did you ask for any advice?
Oh I’ve had many dinners with Ethan. When we shot the movie we’d go to this Italian restaurant and he would tell me so many stories. He talked about the competitive factor and how that wasn’t normal for him to go through. He reckons it actually is harder now because of social media. He was like, ‘I’m glad I didn’t have any of that when I grew up!’
How do you deal with haters on social media?
I usually try to ignore it. Intelligence is a good throwback: ‘You misspelled that, just so you know’.
What kind of time have you spent with Adam Sandler, who voices Mavis’s dad, Dracula, in the Hotel Transylvania movies?
When I did the first movie, I didn’t know if I was even gonna see him. But at my first session, he was there. He came from picking up his kids at school and he goes, ‘Well I guess it was a good thing I hired you for this movie, because all the kids at school know who you are!’ He’s really sweet; he was one of the first people who wanted me back for the second one.
You’ve already ticked a lot of boxes in your career. Any boxes you’re yet to tick?
See, I feel like I haven’t even started! Of course I’m so grateful for the TV show (Wizards Of Waverly Place); I will never be bashful or regret being a Disney kid. It gave me a platform to reach to a younger audience. Also having four albums — that’s a lot. There’s just so much more for me to achieve now that I have a better understanding of what my strengths are. There’s so much people haven’t seen that I’m capable of doing and I really believe in myself and I know I can do things people don’t think I can do.
Do you think your latest album Revival shows us a new Selena?
Yeah, I do. It took a lot of time and a lot of figuring out. Even down to the title of the album — it tells you that it’s my time. And I just had so much to say on this record.
You mentioned showing people what you’re capable of — do you think you’re underestimated or looked down on in some way?
People don’t focus in as much on the talent as I wish they would. But I guess that’s my job (to show them). I don’t get these parts because I’m offered them. Every movie I’ve done this year I’ve auditioned for, I’ve fought four.
Is proving yourself part of growing up?
Yeah, I’ve lived some life. Now … I get it. I have my own home. I have to balance a cheque book. I can’t call my mum every time. I have to prove myself constantly. Nothing is offered easily to me.
You didn’t mention love in that list of grown up things …
On the album I do. Now I can say, ‘I’ve been through that’. Because when I’m 15, why am I singing about heartbreak? I don’t know if I’ve even remotely felt that! Now … It’s obvious I’ve been in love. It’s fine. I think it’s obvious. I don’t regret anything. I wholeheartedly loved someone and I don’t regret that at all, no matter what.
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