The singer graces the cover of our first issue of the decade, answering questions from Timotheé Chalamet, Petra Collins, Jim Jarmusch, and more
As her third studio album Rare basks in the glow of a glorious debut, Selena Gomez graces the cover of Dazed’s first issue of the decade.
In an interview made up of questions from fellow musicians, actors, activists, and fans – including Timotheé Chalamet, Petra Collins, and Jim Jarmusch – the singer goes deep on immigration activism, discusses her pride in representing Latinos, and shares her favourite filmmaker, go-to karaoke song, and dream role.
Here’s six things we learned from the multi-talented artist and philanthropist’s cover story. Read the full interview here.
SHE WAS SCARED NO ONE WOULD LIKE HER ALBUM
Answering a question from stan account @sexlikeselena about the scariest part of releasing Rare four years after her last album, 2015’s Revival, Gomez revealed she was terrified that no one would like it and that her career as a singer would be over. “I genuinely thought that,” she says. “I worked so, so hard on this album. It could have come out and completely flopped, and then it’s like, well, where do you go from here? I would have questioned everything because I doubt myself and that’s where I would have ended up – in a spiral.” Luckily for Gomez – who just launched a beauty line named after the record – Rare has been widely critically acclaimed, so far amassing … steams on Spotify alone.
HER FAVOURITE FILMMAKER, KARAOKE SONGS, AND DREAM ROLES
Picture this: Selena Gomez stars in Martin Scorsese’s remake of Psycho, soundtracked by Cardi B. Though this may sound like the film of your dreams, it’s actually the film of Gomez’s dreams – kind of. Answering questions from Chalamet, Collins, and fashion house Vaquera, the singer shared some of her favourite pop culture influencers, naming Scorsese as the filmmaker she’d most like to work with, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho as the horror film she’d most like to star in, and Cardi B as her go-to karaoke artist. “I just looove her so much,” gushes Gomez, “she’s so funny and brilliant. I get to turn into a character (when doing karaoke) – I can enjoy pretending that I’m a great rapper, which I’m not.”
Exposing her eclectic music taste, the musician revealed that the first ever CD she owned was Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time. “I was obsessed,” she laughs. “She was also my first concert, and my entire room was Britney-inspired. Even my little light switch had something Britney (on it)... I actually got to meet her a few years ago and I was like a little girl again.”
SHE’S HONOURED TO REPRESENT LATINOS
Referencing Gomez’s Latin surname, Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer Bad Bunny asks Gomez whether she feels like she represents Latinos despite her music being sung in English. “One thousand per cent,” the singer answers. “I’m always very vocal about my background, as far as me talking about immigration, and my grandparents having to come across the border illegally. I wouldn’t have been born (otherwise). I have such an appreciation for my last name.” Gomez has dropped a number of songs in Spanish, including 2010s “Un Año Sin Lluvia” – meaning “A Year Without Rain” – which was released during her time in the band, Selena Gomez & The Scene. But can we expect more Spanish-speaking tunes? In short, yes. “That’s something that’s gonna happen a bit more. So there’s a lot more I would love to do because I don’t take (representing Latinos) lightly, I’m very honoured.”
INSTAGRAM STRESSES HER OUT
Although she’s a global superstar, Gomez still gets stressed out by Instagram, just like the rest of us. The singer took a four-month break from social media in September 2018, returning last January. “It’s been awhile since you have heard from me,” Gomez said in her first IG post since the hiatus, “but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year and to thank you for your love and support.” Answering a question from photographer Brianna Capozzi – who shot her Dazed cover story – which asked if Gomez would get rid of Instagram entirely if she could, the singer replies: “Oh gosh! I think I’d have a lot of people not liking me for saying yes. If I could find a balanced, happy medium that would be great, but I would be lying if I said that it isn’t destroying some of my generation, their identity.” Gomez adds that social media is part of the reason she named her album ‘Rare’, “because there’s so much pressure to look the same as everyone else”. Discussing how she looks after her mental health while using the app, she concludes: “What I do now is to only go on it when I feel like I need to, and then I’ll just log off, I won’t take time to explore or look at anything else.”
RELEASING ‘RARE’ HELPED HER HEAL
Gomez has no regrets. Responding to a question from director Anna Chai, the singer expands: “There are certain things which I wish hadn’t happened to me. But without them I wouldn’t have been the voice I am for people who have gone through the same thing.” Referencing her diagnosis with lupus and subsequent kidney transplant – donated by her best friend, Francia Raísa – Gomez says: “I was dealing with fame and with being run-down, dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that I had. It was all a bit confusing.”
The singer continues: “When (2019 single) ‘Lose You to Love Me’ came out, I stood back and had this moment, like, ‘Oh... this is a huge reason why I’ve pushed myself through this. This is why.’ I was able to release a song that hopefully helps to heal some people, or just lets them know they are not alone. I was actually letting it go personally and when that happened something inside of me just left. And that’s why I am grateful for the chapters of my life. I’m not saying that it’s gonna be easy from now on, but I have a lot more strength and a lot more courage and a bigger voice to stand up for what I deserve.”
SHE WANTS TO FOCUS MORE ON HER PHILANTHROPY
Asked what she’d like to be doing in ten years time – by 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford – Gomez hoped she’d be doing more of her philanthropy, “while maintaining a healthy balance of the stuff I enjoy now”. The singer has been an ambassador for UNICEF since 2009, advocating for the world’s most vulnerable children by participating in campaigns and events. Answering a question from model Halima Aden about her favourite memories of her work with the organisation, Gomez says: “One of them is when I took pictures on my phone with these young kids (in Chile) and showed them and they were so excited. They’d just never seen a photograph of themselves. Even the water was such poor quality that they’d never even seen their reflection.”
Gomez has also used her platform to openly discuss immigration. The singer has been open about her family’s experience, revealing their story in Netflix’s documentary Living Undocumented, which she executive-produced. After writer Natascha Elena Uhlmann asked her how she balanced the importance of being open with fear of putting her loved ones at risk, Gomez answered: “It’s definitely frightening, but I think sometimes you have to do the things that scare you in order to shake people up. My goal was to simply humanise my people, because they were being called aliens, criminals, and I can’t even imagine what these kids being separated from their families are going through. It’s something that is going to traumatise them for the rest of their lives. And it just seems animalistic; it is scary but I think it needs to be talked about.”
When questioned by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas about which stories from Living Undocumented resonated the most with audiences, the singer adds: “I think the greatest stories I’ve heard are from people who may not even have taken the time to understand that side of what’s happening – people who are so moved by it that were maybe not on the same page, if that makes sense. At the same time these families who are part of the series, they (now) get to see what they’ve done for the country – it’s something that is truly remarkable.”
Pre-order the spring issue of Dazed, starring Selena Gomez, below.