Selena Gomez, who skyrocketed to stardom as a teen on the Disney Channel, reflected on how being in the public eye in her youth led to her being sexualized at a young age. She opened up on The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actress Roundtable after Amy Schumer, who joins her in the new season of Only Murders in the Building, pointed it out.
Schumer mentioned that Gomez “was sexualized at such a young age, but you’ve just rejected that and have really found your own style and your own presence.” She added, “Because I know they put you through a system and make you feel like this is how you have to do it. And especially when you’re getting that positive feedback and people are attracted to you, it takes a lot to go, ‘I’m going to go in this direction.’”
Gomez responded, “It’s really unfair. I actually did an album cover and I was really ashamed after I did it.” Though she didn’t mention the work by name, she appeared to be referencing her 2015 LP Revival, whose cover artwork features her posing completely nude.
“I had to work through those feelings because I realized it was attached to something deeper that was going on,” Gomez continued. “And it was a choice that I wasn’t necessarily happy that I made, but I think that I’ve done my best, at least I try to be myself. And I’m not an overly sexual person. Sometimes I like to feel sexy, but that doesn’t mean it’s for somebody else. It can be for me.”
Gomez has opened up about her discomfort around her Revival shoot before. In a 2020 interview with Allure, she said she “just did things that weren’t really me,” for the project. “There was pressure to seem more adult on my album, Revival. [I felt] the need to show skin...I really don’t think I was [that] person,” she added.
And while speaking to Dazed that same year, she revealed in a video voiceover, “I can’t be anybody else, so that’s the truth. I’ve tried, you know, like my last album cover, and you know, things like that I thought I could do, working on songs that didn’t really add up to my story. But [this is] just who I am, and I can’t pretend to be anything other than that.”
Aside from Revival, Gomez even told ELLE what being in the spotlight for so long, with such little privacy, has been like. “For a while, I felt like an object,” she said in our October 2021 cover story. “It felt gross for a long time.”
Stepping away from social media has helped the star maintain her authenticity. During the THR roundtable, Gomez reiterated that she doesn’t use the platform anymore. “But you’re seeing all of these other people [post these images] and I can’t look that way,” she explained. “It’s impossible. I don’t find it attainable and the moment I’m not on it, everything else becomes real.”