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Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television producer. Born and raised in Texas, Gomez began her career by appearing on the children's television series Barney & Friends (2002-2004). In her teens, she gained wider recognition for her role as Alex Russo on the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012).
In 2017, Billboard reported that Gomez has sold over 7 million albums and 22 million singles worldwide. Gomez has received various accolades and was honored as the Billboard Woman of the Year in 2017. She has a large following on social media, and was at one point the most-followed individual on Instagram. Gomez's other ventures include a makeup line, a clothing line, a handbag line, a fragrance line, and a production company named July Moonhead Productions. She has worked with various charitable organizations and, at age 17, she was appointed as a UNICEF ambassador.
Life and career
1992-2006: Early life and career beginnings
Selena Marie Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas, on July 22, 1992, to Ricardo Joel Gomez and Texas-born former stage actress Amanda Dawn "Mandy" Cornett.[better source needed] Gomez was named after Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, who died in 1995. Her father is of Mexican descent while her mother, who was adopted, has some Italian ancestry. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has stated that she is "a proud third-generation American-Mexican" and that, "My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything that's Catholic, but we don't really have anything traditional except [that we] go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church." Gomez's parents divorced when she was five years old, and she remained with her mother. Selena has two younger half-sisters: Gracie Elliot Teefey, through Amanda and her second husband Brian Teefey, and Victoria "Tori" Gomez, through Ricardo and his wife Sara. She earned her high-school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010.
When Gomez was born, her mother was sixteen years old. The family had financial troubles during Gomez's childhood, with her mother struggling to provide for the pair. At one point, Gomez recalled, they had to search for quarters just to get gas for their car. Her mother later recalled that the two would frequently walk to their local dollar store to purchase spaghetti for dinner. Gomez stated, "I was frustrated that my parents weren't together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me. I'm terrified of what I would have become if I'd stayed [in Texas]." She later added that "[My mom] was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me." Gomez had a close relationship with her grandparents as a child, and appeared in various pageants growing up. Her grandparents often took care of her while her parents finished their schooling, and the pair went as far as stating that they "raised her" up until she found success in the entertainment industry.
Gomez first gained an interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry watching her mother prepare for stage productions. She began auditioning for various roles, meeting Demi Lovato during an audition for Barney & Friends. Both Gomez and Lovato were later selected to appear on the series in 2002, with Gomez portraying the character of Gianna. The show was her first experience in acting, with Gomez recalling, "I was very shy when I was little [...] I didn't know what 'camera right' was. I didn't know what blocking was. I learned everything from Barney." Gomez appeared in thirteen episodes of the show between 2002 and 2004, though the show's producers released her as she was getting "too old" for the series. While working on the series, Gomez had a cameo role in the film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and the made-for-television film Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005). Gomez made a guest appearance in a 2006 episode of the Disney series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
2007-2012: Breakthrough with Disney and Selena Gomez & the Scene
Gomez was given a recurring role on the Disney Channel hit series Hannah Montana in 2007, playing pop star Mikayla. During this time, Gomez filmed pilot episodes for two potential Disney Channel series; the first, titled Arwin!, a spin-off of the Suite Life series, while the second titled Stevie Sanchez was a spin-off of the series Lizzie McGuire. She later auditioned for a role in the Disney series Wizards of Waverly Place, ultimately winning the lead role of Alex Russo. Upon receiving the role, Gomez and her mother moved to Los Angeles; Lovato and her family also moved to Los Angeles, hoping to achieve similar success to Gomez.Wizards of Waverly Place saw Gomez playing a teenage girl in a family of wizards who own a restaurant in New York City. The series quickly became a hit for the network, propelling Gomez to more mainstream success. The series received numerous nominations and awards. Gomez recorded the theme song for the series, titled "Everything is Not What It Seems". Gomez later appeared in the music video for the song "Burnin' Up", which the Jonas Brothers had recorded and released.
At age 16, Gomez signed a recording contract with the Hollywood Records label, which had already signed both Cyrus and Lovato. Gomez formed her own production company in 2008, which she called July Moon Productions. She partnered with XYZ Films for the project, giving Gomez the opportunity to option articles, hire writers and create talent packages to shop to studios. Gomez was slated to release two films under the company. The first, titled What Boys Want, featured Gomez as a girl who could hear the thoughts of men. She later announced a film adaptation of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, in which she was to play a young girl who commits suicide; ultimately, neither film was made, though Gomez would later executive produce a television adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Hoping to achieve a successful crossover into music, Gomez formed the pop-rock band Selena Gomez & the Scene through her record deal with Hollywood Records. The name of the band is an "ironic jab" at the people who called Gomez a "wannabe scene". The group released their debut studio album in August 2009, which debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States, with first-week sales of 66,000 copies. The album received a mixed reception, some critics praised the album for its "fun" nature, while others criticized Gomez's vocal performance. The lead single failed to have commercial success, however the second single was successful. With heavy promotion through Disney and performances, the song had success on radio and with sales. In 2010, Gomez starred as one of the two female leads in Ramona and Beezus, a film adaption of the children's novel series by Beverly Cleary. The film premiered on July 23, 2010, and it was met with generally positive reviews. Selena Gomez & the Scene released their second studio album A Year Without Rain that same year, which debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number 4 with sales of a little over 66,000. The album received mixed to positive reviews where some noticed that Gomez's vocals contained the Auto-Tune effect. The record's two singles both achieved moderate success. Having previously announced plans to launch a fashion line, Gomez launched Dream Out Loud in 2010. The collection consisted of, and featured, bohemian dresses, floral tops, jeans, skirts, jackets, scarves and hats, all of which were made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. Gomez stated, "With my line, I really want to give the customer options on how they can put their own looks together [...] I want the pieces that can be easy to dress up or down, and the fabrics being eco-friendly and organic is super important [...] Also, the tags will all have some of my inspirational quotes on them. I'm just looking to send a good message." To design the actual items, Gomez teamed up with designers Tony Melillo and Sandra Campos, both of whom had previously worked with big-name fashion houses. Melillo and Campos teamed with New York-based Adjmi Apparel to manufacture the brand, which was formed by Adjmi CH Brands LLC, the holding company for the brand.
In 2011, Gomez starred in the film Monte Carlo. Her character Grace is a teenager "mistaken for a socialite while on a trip to Paris". To prepare for the role, Gomez learned how to play polo and also took two weeks of vocal training to learn two different British accents. She also began a relationship with Justin Bieber that year, which lasted until 2014. Before breaking up, they recorded an unreleased duet titled "Can't Steal Our Love". Gomez appeared in a cameo role in the film The Muppets and appeared in the Disney shows So Random! and PrankStars. Selena Gomez & the Scene released their third and final studio album that same year. The album received mixed reviews, with the album's second single receiving a 4x Platinum certification from the RIAA. However, the album's lead single and last single both achieved moderate success. It was announced on July 14, 2011, that Gomez had signed a license agreement with Adrenalina, an extreme sports and adventure-themed lifestyle brand, to develop, manufacture, and distribute the actress's fragrance. Chairman and C.E.O. of Adrenalina, Ilia Lekach, said, "We are incredibly enthused to be working with Ms. Gomez and will reveal more details pertaining to the fragrance as we get closer to the launch date." The perfume was released in May 2012.
2012-2015: Stars Dance and films
Gomez confirmed in January 2012 that she would be taking a break from her music career, thus placing Selena Gomez & the Scene on a hiatus. That year, Wizards of Waverly Place officially ended its run on the Disney Channel after four seasons. Gomez hoped to focus on her film career outside Disney and starred in the animated film Hotel Transylvania (2012). The film premiered at the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival and was released on September 28, 2012. Gomez had a role in the controversial exploitation film Spring Breakers (2013), starring James Franco. The film saw Gomez in a more mature role than her previous works, and reportedly led to Gomez having a "bit of a meltdown on set". In 2013, Gomez starred in the film Getaway. The film was a critical and commercial failure, and earned Gomez a nomination for Worst Actress at the 34th Golden Raspberry Awards.
Despite her earlier claims that she would be taking a break from her music career, Gomez confirmed in October 2012 that she was working on new material. She later confirmed that she would be releasing her solo debut album, as opposed to another album with her band. Gomez released "Come & Get It" as the lead single from the album. The single became Gomez's first top ten entry on the Billboard Hot 100. Another single from the album, "Slow Down", peaked at number 27 in the Billboard charts.Stars Dance was released on July 23, 2013. It became her first album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, where it sold 97,000 copies in its first week. The album remained in the top ten in its second week, though declined down the chart in the following weeks. The record was met with mixed reviews where some music critics noticed her inability to create her own musical identity and her lack of vocal ability "doesn't help". Gomez incorporated choreography and dance routines into her promotional performances and music videos for the album, feeling inspired by artists such as Janet Jackson and Britney Spears. As of September 2015, the album has sold 392,000 copies in the United States, making it her lowest selling studio album to date in the country. It remains her only studio effort to not receive a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Gomez embarked on her Stars Dance Tour on August 14, 2013. After touring in North America and Europe, the tour was set to continue throughout 2014, though Gomez cancelled the Australian and Asian leg of the tour in December 2013, claiming that she would be taking a hiatus to spend time with her family. In January 2014, it was reported that Gomez had spent two weeks at Dawn at The Meadows, which is a treatment center in Wickenburg, Arizona that specializes in treating addiction and trauma in young people. Her representative stated that she had spent time there "voluntarily [...] but not for substance abuse". Gomez confirmed in 2015 that she had been diagnosed with lupus and that she had cancelled the tour and entered rehab to undergo chemotherapy. Gomez appeared in the film Behaving Badly (2014) with Dylan McDermott and Nat Wolff. The project, filmed prior to Gomez's stint in rehab, was released in August 2014 to a generally negative critical and commercial reception. Even the author of the original autobiographical novel, has disavowed the film. She later appeared in the film Rudderless (2014), the directorial debut of William H. Macy. The independent film received a mixed reception from critics.
Gomez performing in December 2013
In April of that year, it was reported that Gomez had fired her mother and stepfather as her managers; the two had managed Gomez since her career began. Gomez later signed with the WME and Brillstein companies to manage her career. The news of Gomez's new management also fueled rumors that her recording contract with Hollywood Records was ending, and that Gomez was searching for a new label. Gomez surprise released her new single "The Heart Wants What It Wants" (2014) on November 6, and confirmed after months of speculation that she would be releasing a compilation album as a means of finishing out her contract with Hollywood Records. The single went on to become her second top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and sold over one million copies in the United States. Gomez released her first solo compilation album, For You (2014), on November 24. The album received minimal promotion and failed to achieve much commercial success, selling 35,506 equivalent album units in the United States during its first week of release, and entered the Billboard 200 at number twenty-four. Gomez officially signed a recording contract with Interscope Records in December 2014.
While working on her second studio album, Gomez collaborated with Zedd for his single "I Want You to Know", released as the lead single from his second album on February 23, 2015. The single became Gomez's fourth top twenty entry on the Billboard Hot 100, and received a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Gomez became the face of haircare brand Pantene in 2015.
2015-2016: Revival and personal struggles
Selena Gomez released "Good for You" as the lead single from her second studio album on June 22, 2015; the single features rapper ASAP Rocky. The song sold 179,000 copies in its first week of release alone, and went on to become her first top five single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The single became her first to top the Mainstream Top 40 chart. In August 2015, Gomez appeared in the documentary Unity among many other actors and actresses. She reprised the role of Mavis in Hotel Transylvania 2, which was released on September 25; the film was met with a positive critical reception and commercial success upon its release.
Gomez released her second studio album, Revival, on October 9, 2015. The album was positively reviewed by critics, who praised its production and lyrical content. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 117,000 equivalent album units. This remains Gomez's highest first week sales to date. "Same Old Love" was released as the album's second single, and went on to top the Mainstream Top 40 chart. The single peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, tying with "Good for You" as Gomez's highest-charting single to that point. "Hands to Myself" was the album's third single, which became her third consecutive number one on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. This made Gomez one of only six female artists to have three singles from the same album top the chart.
Gomez had a cameo role in the film The Big Short, which was released on December 11 by Paramount Pictures. She was the musical guest on the January 23, 2016 episode of Saturday Night Live, with host Ronda Rousey.
Gomez in 2016
Gomez embarked on her worldwide Revival Tour (2016) on May 6. Gomez claimed that the tour would focus solely on her as an artist and would feature less choreography and fewer effects than her previous tour. After touring in North America, Asia and Oceania, she cancelled the European and South America leg of the tour in August 2016 due to anxiety, panic attacks and depression caused by her lupus. Gomez had a supporting role in the comedy film Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; she played the president of a Phi Lambda sorority. Her collaboration with Charlie Puth, "We Don't Talk Anymore" (2016), reached the top ten in the United States. Also in 2016, Gomez starred in the drama film The Fundamentals of Caring, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 29, was released on Netflix on June 24, and had a mixed critical reception. She also starred in In Dubious Battle with James Franco; the film was released on September 3, 2016. Gomez began working on her third studio album while touring, and added a new song titled "Feel Me" to the setlist of her Revival Tour. The song leaked online nine months after the first performance. The album, which currently has no title or release date, will be her second release through Interscope Records. Gomez and Canadian singer Tory Lanez were featured on "Trust Nobody", the second single from Norwegian DJ Cashmere Cat debut studio album 9. The song was released in September 2016.
Following the cancellation of her tour, Gomez rechecked into rehab to focus on her mental health and was noticeably absent from social media. She made her first public appearance at the 2016 American Music Awards, where she was nominated for two awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Artist of the Year. She further went on to win the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.
2017-present: Standalone releases, 13 Reasons Why, and Rare
On February 4, 2017, she posted a snippet of a new song on her Instagram story. Five days later, Norwegian DJ Kygo posted a snippet of his collaboration with Gomez. Gomez and Kygo confirmed the single titled "It Ain't Me" via their social media accounts a week later, which was released on February 16. The song reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In September 2019, it was announced that Gomez became the executive producer of the Netflix docuseriesLiving Undocumented, which follows eight undocumented families in America. The series, consisting of six episodes, premiered on October 2, 2019. On October 23, 2019, Gomez released "Lose You to Love Me" as the lead single from her third studio album Rare. On October 24, she surprise-released the second single, "Look at Her Now". "Lose You to Love Me" became Gomez's first chart topping single in the United States, surging from number 15 to the top on the issue dated November 9, 2019.Rare was released on January 10, 2020 to generally favorable reviews, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming her third consecutive number-one album. Later that month, Gomez voiced a giraffe in the adventure film Dolittle, directed by Stephen Gaghan.
In May 2020, it was announced Gomez will host and executive produce the HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef, which will feature Gomez joined by a different chef remotely each episode due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each episode will highlight a food-related charity. The show will premiere on August 13, 2020.
In August 2020, it was announced that Gomez will star in and executive produce the Hulu comedy series Only Murders In the Building alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short. The series marks Gomez's first scripted television role since Wizards of Waverly Place. Later that month, it was announced that Gomez is set to feature on a song with South Korean girl group Blackpink.
Early in her music career, Gomez cited Bruno Mars as an influence, for "his style of music, his style in general, the way he performs, the way he carries himself". Gomez also cited Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift as influences. Gomez has also considered Cheryl to be a significant influence to her artistry, "She made me feel better, I just love her music and I think she's a really nice person. She's been through a lot, but she carries herself with a lot of class and I love that." Gomez's debut solo album Stars Dance (2013) was prominently influenced by Spears, Swift, and EDM producer Skrillex. Her second album, Revival (2015), was mainly inspired by Christina Aguilera's album Stripped (2002) as well as Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.
In 2009, Gomez was part of Sears's back-to-school fashion campaign and was featured in television commercials. She hosted the "Sears Arrive Air Band Casting Call" to select five winners for the first-ever "Sears Air Band" to perform at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. She also became the spokesperson for Borden Milk and was featured in campaign's print ads and television commercials.
From 2010 to 2014, Gomez released her own clothing line, Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez, through retailer Kmart. In 2012, she released a self-titled fragrance, Selena Gomez by Selena Gomez. It was also announced that she would partner with the cellphone brand, Case-Mate, as part of its upcoming "Right Case, Right Occasion" marketing campaign. In 2013, she released her second fragrance, Vivamore by Selena Gomez. She also created her own collection of nail polish colors for Nicole by OPI.
From 2013 to 2015, Gomez was a spokesperson and partner for Neo by Adidas. In 2015, Gomez signed $3 million endorsement deal with Pantene.
In 2016, Gomez appeared in a fashion campaign for luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Gomez also appeared in ads for Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, and she appeared in advertisements for the campaign and lyrics from two of her songs will be featured on packages of Coca-Cola products nationwide.
In 2017, Gomez confirmed that she was partnering with Coach, Inc, beginning with their fall line. She has a limited-edition collection of handbags called the "Selena Grace" that she designed in collaboration with luxury brand Coach, Inc. On March 29, 2018, Gomez released photos from her partnership with Coach on her Instagram account. The photos featured a black and brown Coach bag and the numbers "3 29 '98", referencing a date 20 years before. She also partnered with the athletic brand, Puma, as brand ambassador appearing in campaigns, including the Phenom Lux sneakers that was released in March 2018. Also in 2018, it was reported Gomez was earning $800,000 for each sponsored Instagram post.
In October 2008, Gomez participated in St. Jude's Children's Hospital "Runway For Life" benefit. That same month, Gomez was named UNICEF's spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which encouraged children to raise money on Halloween to help children around the world. She said that she was "extremely excited" to "encourage other kids to make a difference in the world". In August 2009, a 17-year-old Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador at the time, surpassing Hayley Westenra, who was 18 when she was chosen. Actress Millie Bobby Brown later became the youngest UNICEF ambassador at 14-year-old. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana on September 4, 2009 for a week to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities including clean water, nourishment, education and healthcare. Gomez explained, during an interview with Associated Press correspondents, that she wanted to use her star power to bring awareness to Ghana: "That's why I feel very honored to have a voice that kids listen to and take into consideration [...] I had people on my tour asking me where IS Ghana, and they Googled it [...] and because I went there, they now know where Ghana is. So it's pretty incredible." Gomez said, of her role as ambassador, that "Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality."
Gomez was named spokesperson for UNICEF's 2009 Trick-or-Treat campaign, for the second year in a row. Gomez, who raised over $700,000 for the charity in 2008, stated that she hopes to be able to raise 1 million dollars in 2009. Gomez participated in a celebrity auction and hosted a live web cast series on Facebook in support of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign.
Gomez returned as the UNICEF spokesperson for the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2010. In celebration of the organization's 60th anniversary, Gomez and her team, The Scene, held a benefit concert donating all proceeds to the campaign.
In February 2011, Gomez traveled to Chile to witness and meet with the families of UNICEF's supported program, "Programa Puente", which helped families better understand, and developed skills to deal effectively with, early childhood education, development, and other issues related to raising children. From her field trip experience, Gomez said, "UNICEF is helping Chilean families get out of poverty, prevent violence within the home and promote education. To witness first hand these families' struggles, and also their hope and perseverance, was truly inspiring." In March 2011, Gomez participated in the UNICEF Tap Project's "Celebrity Tap Pack" limited-edition, custom-made water bottles which featured tap water from the homes of each celebrity advocate, in order to raise funds and increase profile for the clean water and sanitation programs. She was also featured in videos that promoted the campaign.
Gomez became the ambassador of DoSomething.org after being involved with the charity Island Dog, which helped dogs in Puerto Rico. She began her involvement while filming Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie in Puerto Rico. Gomez is also involved with the charity RAISE Hope For Congo, an initiative of the Enough Project, which helps raise awareness about conflict minerals and violence against Congolese women.
In April 2012, Gomez was named ambassador to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. The year before, Gomez made an appearance at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia during a Ryan Seacrest Foundation broadcast from the hospital's multimedia center. She was also a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance and appeared in numerous television commercials, which aired on the Disney Channel, to raise awareness of being a safe driver.
Gomez attended the WE Day California event in Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. During the 2018 event, Gomez introduced Nellie Mainor, a young fan who had a rare kidney disease. Her participation in WE Day 2019 was her first appearance after an extended break from the spotlight.
Gomez continued her partnership with WE Charity when she traveled to Kenya in December 2019 to meet the local community and visit schools built by the organization.
Gomez was raised as a Catholic. At age 13, she wanted a purity ring, and her dad went to the church and got it blessed. She stated, "He actually used me as an example for other kids. I'm going to keep my promise to myself, to my family and to God." Gomez stopped wearing the ring in 2010. She later stated in 2017 that she did not like the term "religion" and that sometimes it "freaks me out", adding "I don't know if it's necessarily that I believe in religion, as much as I believe in faith and a relationship with God." In 2014, Gomez said that she listened to "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United before performing at the 2014 American Music Awards. In 2016, she appeared at a Hillsong Young & Free concert in Los Angeles, leading worship by singing her song titled "Nobody". When a fan asked her who the lyrics in "Nobody" referred to, Gomez answered on Twitter that the lyrics referred to God. She also covered Hillsong Worship's song "Transfiguration" during her Revival Tour. As of 2020, she attends a different congregation in California[clarification needed] and has stated that she does not consider herself religious, but is more concerned with her faith and connection to God.
Gomez was diagnosed with lupus sometime between 2012 and early 2014. On September 14, 2017, she announced via Instagram that she had withdrawn from public events during the previous few months because she had received a kidney transplant from actress and friend Francia Raisa. During the transplant, Gomez broke an artery. An emergency surgery was conducted to build a new artery using a vein from her leg.
Gomez dated Nick Jonas in 2008. She appeared in the music video for his band's song "Burnin' Up". In December 2010, Gomez began dating Justin Bieber. After separating in November 2012, they reconciled a few weeks later before splitting up again in January 2013. They later reconciled for a few months in each of 2013, 2014, and 2015. Late in 2017, it was reported that the couple were together again. However, they broke up again in March 2018.