Selena Gomez Reveals Her Struggle With Child Stardom

selena gomez

Selena Gomez is known by audiences for a myriad of things these days: chart-topping music, Disney Channel shows or movies, and her popular makeup line called Rare Beauty. But the actress, singer, and dancer first came to many viewers’ attention during her Disney Channel days, when the young actress starred as the mischievous young wizard Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place and began showing up in several Disney projects.

Selena Gomez has been back in the limelight more recently as well, due to her well-received performance on the HBO show Only Murders in the Building opposite Steven Martin and Martin Short (“They have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive, and they are the kindest people”, Gomez has said in reference to the two comedians).

wizards of waverly place

Selena Gomez, David Henrie, and Jake T. Austin as Alex Russo, Justin Russo, and Max Russo in ‘Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie’ Credit:

The Disney Channel star might seem accustomed to the attention as a celebrity since she has been on TV since she was seven, but Gomez said on the Awards Chatter Podcast from Hollywood Reporter that she still remembers feeling “a little grossed out” the first time she was photographed as a child by paparazzi.

When asked if fame was enjoyable as a child actor, the Texas native confessed that it was not “necessarily a fun switch” in her life. “I felt a little bit constricted, and I think that’s when I lost a little bit of my being a kid. Later in life, I realized that I missed out on a lot. I definitely processed things differently than I do now, and it is a little weird and there’s growing pains in the midst of it.”

Disney Channel

Disney Channel

Many Disney Channel stars or former Disney child actors have commented on their mental and emotional struggles due to that time of their lives. Being a child star is an intense, isolating experience, according to many of them. Cole Sprouse from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody recently spoke out about his struggles with his time on Disney Channel, pointing out that “fame is a trauma”.


Cole Sprouse as Cody Martin and Dylan Sprouse as Zack Martin on ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ on the Disney Channel. Credit:

Gomez found that working for Disney and working at a young age also caused challenges when she tried to expand her singing career.

“Disney is a machine…they are a really well-oiled machine,” the Spring Breakers actress said on the podcast. “They, you know, they had the singing aspect, the pop star aspect [of me], they liked that — and I understood that, and I enjoyed it. However…I [couldn’t] write music other than ‘oh I may have a crush on someone’, [because] hadn’t lived life. There wasn’t much that I could really say.”

princess protection program

Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato starred in the 2009 Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Princess Protection Program’ Credit:

Gomez also made it clear that her Disney past was a challenge when she tried to branch out. “I felt like it was very difficult for people to take me seriously… I have slowly pushed through that, and I’m really glad, but it was very frustrating,” she explained. “I felt like a joke, you know?”

“I want to work with a David Fincher or a David O. Russell who will push me to the edge to go and fight for something. That’s the kind of acting that I crave to do more than anything,” Gomez said, expressing a desire that is strikingly similar to the one that Austin Butler (another Disney star who is turning heads now as he plays Elvis Presley) had expressed recently. Judging by her nuanced performance as Mabel in Only Murders in the Building, Gomez is shifting further towards the acting roles that she wants!


About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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