Selena Gomez is turning 26 as of July 22, so you know what that means: tell ‘em that it’s her birthday. To mark the occasion, we’ve rounded up some things about Selener that you might not have known about this talented triple threat. From her love for McDonald's to her forthcoming album, check out this list of all things Selena Gomez.
1. Selena loves her thrills and chills.
By now, Selenators have surely seen Selena’s ultra-creepy “Fetish” music video, directed by friend and frequent collaborator Petra Collins. What you might not know is how deep her obsession with scary stuff goes. In their July 2017 interview with Dazed, Selena and Petra explained how the project came to be.
“Do you think people would be shocked to know that ‘Fetish’ came out of our discovery that we are both avid horror fans, which I didn’t know about you?” Petra asked Selena. “Until you came over in the middle of the day and found me in my living room sitting on a big teddy bear watching Chucky so casually and then you came and laid with me,” Selena replied.
Later, the two collaborated again on A Love Story, a nightmarish short film for IGTV. As Petra explained to Vanity Fair, “I love The Exorcist and the things that come from inside you," Petra told the mag. "The things that are a little more subtle, and things that you deal with from inwards, and I feel like it's something Selena and I both love talking about...that topic is sort of dear to us."
2. She loves McDonald's. Like, a lot.
Selena’s love of fast food is incredibly well-documented. Famously, her assistant held her half-eaten cheeseburger while she walked the red carpet at the Jingle Bell Ball in 2015. But that’s not the only time we’ve seen homegirl throw down for a Micky D's and a Happy Meal. Before her performance at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret fashion show, she ate McDonald’s backstage. And in the middle of her 2016 appearance on Carpool Karaoke with Late Late Show host James Corden, she ordered a No. 7 and a medium Coca-Cola off the drive-thru menu. It turns out that her lyrics for "Love You like a Love Song" were on the cups at the time. Some of Selena's other favorite foods? Pickles, Hot Cheetos, and whole lemons (sometimes with salt).
3. Her first kiss happened on screen with Dylan Sprouse.
During a guest appearance on the second season of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Selena kissed Dylan in front of a live studio audience.
"I actually leaned in to kiss him, and I had my eyes closed a little too early and I ended up missing like half of his lip," she later recalled. "It ended up being the most awkward kiss in the world. But I was 12 so it was OK and it was good."
4. She has struggled with depression and anxiety and is now an outspoken mental health advocate.
Selena has been very vocal about her mental health. In 2014, she ended her Stars Dance tour early to spend time at a rehab facility in Arizona. Rumors swirled and many assumed she was being treated for substance abuse, but in 2015, she set the record straight. She went to rehab to recover after receiving chemotherapy treatment for lupus, a chronic auto-immune disease.
In 2016, she canceled the remainder of her Revival tour to deal with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks associated with her lupus. She surrendered her cell phone and went into treatment for 90 days alongside a small group of other young women. But in 2016, Selena made her triumphant return to the spotlight at the American Music Awards, where she accepted the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and delivered an inspiring speech that touched briefly on her struggles. "If you are broken, you don't have to stay broken," she said at the time.
Today, Selena continues to speak openly and passionately about the life-changing power of dialectical behavior therapy and that she'll "battle" anxiety and depression for the rest of her life — which is an important reminder that taking care of your mental health can be a lifelong journey
5. She owns her own production company and she’s already a heavy-hitting executive producer.
In 2008, Selena formed July Moon Productions and announced two films, one of which was supposed to be a film adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult fiction novel 13 Reasons Why. According to a 2011 blog post by Asher, Selena was originally interested in playing Hannah Baker, but ultimately, the film was never made.
That is, until the adaptation finally came to life on Netflix in 2017. But instead of Selena taking on the role of Hannah, she took one behind-the-scenes as an executive producer. Earlier this year, it was announced that there would be a third season of 13 Reasons Why.
6. She’s a veteran designer.
At 18 years old, Selena launched Dream Out Loud, a juniors clothing line available exclusively at Kmart. It was super cute, super affordable, and made entirely from eco-friendly and organic fabrics. Slay, Miss Gomez!
Since then, Selena has worked extensively with Coach. After becoming the face of the brand in 2016, she co-designed a handbag and a line of ready-to-wear clothing with Creative Director Stuart Vevers. "I always look forward to designing with Selena because she has a strong point of view,” said Vevers in a statement when the line was announced. “We wanted to bring cool new ideas to the table and I loved getting her take on clothes as much as accessories this time around.”
7. She stans Britney Spears. Hard.
During a 2016 cover shoot with Marie Claire, Selena revealed that Britney’s Baby One More Time was her first CD and her first concert. "We were all the way up in the nosebleeds, but I was living my life,” she joked.
No wonder she’d later cite Britney as a key source of inspiration for her Stars Dance world tour and 2013 MTV Movie Awards performance. In an interview, she gushed over Britney’s “impeccable,” snake-laden performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” at the 2001 VMAs and expressed admiration for the way Brit handled her transition from Disney kid to grown-up pop star.
"I think she's one of the best that made that transition," she said. "I definitely wanted to do that with my transition, but I don't think there's a path you have to follow. I think you just have to figure it out and hope for the best, so if it has a similarity, that's only a compliment."
8. She’s the Queen of Instagram, but she has a “love/hate relationship” with social media
With 139 million followers, Selena is still the most-followed person on Instagram – a streak she’s maintained since 2016. She ran her own accounts for a long time and loved having an “authentic” connection with her fans.
However, while in treatment in 2016, she surrendered her phone and took a three-month hiatus from the social media app. She eventually returned, but posted more sparingly and restricted access by putting the password in her assistant’s possession. Seeing negative comments can also take a toll.
"I delete the app from my phone at least once a week," she admitted , adding that "You fixate on the [negative] ones. They’re not like, ‘You’re ugly.’ It’s like they want to cut to your soul. Imagine all the insecurities that you already feel about yourself and having someone write a paragraph pointing out every little thing—even if it’s just physical."
Despite her turbulent history with the platform, Selena seems to have made peace with Instagram. Recently, she convinced 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford to make her Instagram public. “Selena pointed out that the show is targeting young adults like me and that [social media] is a good medium to talk directly with those who relate to my character, Hannah," Katherine explained.
9. She has plenty of philanthropic causes she supports.
Appointed to the role at age 17, Selena became the youngest UNICEF ambassador…ever. In her first official field mission, Gomez spent a week in Ghana, bringing awareness to children and families in need. Through her participation in numerous campaigns, events, and initiatives, Selena helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization.
Over the past couple of years, Selena has also hosted WE Day, a yearly event with the mission to unite like-minded youth who want to change the world for the better. This past year, she opened up about her kidney transplant and brought out Nellie Mainor, a young survivor of a rare kidney disease, onstage.
"This little girl with the big heart believes in the power of spreading joy and light to all," Selena said, holding back tears.
10. She’s been pretty quiet about it, but she’s working diligently on her next album.
In May 2018, Selena admitted there’s “no date” and “no idea” for her third solo effort. But that hasn't kept her from releasing new music over the past couple of years, including bops such as "Wolves" and "Back To You."
“But I have a lot of music that I've collectively put away," she continued. "I have so many exciting things coming. It just feels like it's my time and it's at my pace. I'm not trying to throw a bunch of music in people's faces until I'm ready." Take your time, girl. Just know that we’ve stayed ready.
11. Her kidney transplant has been a long journey.
Last summer, Selena underwent a life-saving kidney transplant to help treat her lupus. Close friend and fellow actor Francia Raísa was the donor, with Selena sharing a photo on Instagram of the two holding hands while in hospital gowns.
Selena’s condition was dire before the procedure, her lupus having progressed to a point where she was suffering from arthritis and organ failure. But there were complications afterward, too.
"A few hours after our surgery, I woke up and had a text from her that said, ‘I’m really scared,'" Francia told W Magazine. "My kidney was very active, and when it turned I broke an artery. They had to take her into emergency surgery and get a vein from her leg and build a new artery to keep my kidney in place. She could have died.”
Thankfully, the operation was successful and both Selena and Francia have recovered. Since then, Selena has spoken movingly of how the transplant changed her outlook on life and her relationship with her body.
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