Selena Gomez opened up to Amy Schumer for Interview magazine’s latest cover story, published Monday. During a candid conversation, the pop star spoke about dealing with media scrutiny from the time she was a teen and revealed why she has been so open about her mental health journey as of late.
“My intention was never to become a tabloid,” the 27-year-old told Schumer of her headline-making life. “So when things kind of happened that way, it got out of control. And then I was like, ‘Wait, none of this is true.'”
Gomez — who first achieved mainstream stardom in 2007 at age 15 on Disney Channel’s The Wizards of Waverly Place, years before she became a regular target of the paparazzi — went on to say that “the way the media has sometimes tried to explain things has made it sound really bad.”
“When in reality, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that I needed to go away or that I fell in love,” she continued, likely referring to her multiple stints at mental health facilities, plus her relationships with such famous exes as Justin Bieber and The Weeknd.
“I had to start opening up because people were taking away my narrative, and it was killing me,” she said. “I’m so young, and I’m going to keep changing, and no one has the right to tell me how my life’s going.”
Aware of her reach, Gomez — the fifth-most-followed person on Instagram with 173 million online acolytes and counting — told Schumer that she makes a conscious effort to raise awareness for causes that are meaningful to her. As a survivor of lupus and someone who recently shared her bipolar diagnosis, Gomez said she hopes to help those who have suffered similar experiences.
“I’ve gone through a lot of medical issues, and I know that I can reach people who are going through similarly scary things — an organ transplant, or being on dialysis, or going away for treatment,” said Gomez, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2017 due to lupus complications. “A huge part of why I have a platform is to help people.”
Added Gomez: “That’s why I think I’m OK with the magnitude. I mean, I’m not really OK with it — but I’m going to say that I am because it’s worth it. I know that I’m making someone somewhere feel good, or feel understood or heard, and that’s worth it for me.”
Now, more empowered than ever, Gomez also promised to make the most of her platform as the 2020 presidential election draws near. While she joked that a run for office may be decades away, she is intent on “pressuring” her fans to cast their ballots in November. “I’m encouraging as many people as possible to vote. It’s something that me and my friends talk about constantly,” she told Schumer. “I’ll be fully on the ground pressuring people to vote.”
Gomez also spoke about returning to music, with her third consecutive No. 1 album, Rare, released in February; it spawned “Lose You to Love Me,” her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
“I wrote it at the beginning of last year and had just gotten out of treatment,” she said. “It was a moment when I came back, and I was like, ‘I’m ready to go into the studio with people I trust and start working on songs.’ There was an air around it where people were very happy because it was like I was going to finally be me. But I didn’t necessarily see it that way at the time. When I wrote the song, I was basically saying that I needed to hit rock bottom to understand that there was this huge veil over my face.”
Read Gomez’s full Interview profile here