Selena Gomez (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress and recording artist. Gomez first made her debut appearing as Gianna in Barney & Friends, lasting from 2002 to 2004. Following this, Gomez had cameo roles in films such as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005). In 2006, Gomez appeared as a guest star on an episode of the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, as well as Hannah Montana. Following this, Gomez starred in the Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. The series was a critical and commercial success, earning Gomez numerous awards and nominations. Gomez later appeared in numerous Disney Channel series and films including Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream (2008) and Disney Channel Games (2008). In 2009, Gomez appeared in the films Princess Protection Program and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie before releasing her first studio album as Selena Gomez & the Scene, titled Kiss & Tell. The album was a commercial success, peaking inside the Top 10 of the Billboard 200.
Following this, Gomez appeared in the film Ramona and Beezus, one of her first roles outside of Disney. Gomez & the Scene released their second studio album, A Year Without Rain, later that year. The album entered the Top 5 of the Billboard 200, and spawned two Top 40 hits. In 2011, Gomez gained much publicity when it was confirmed that she was in a relationship with teenage pop star Justin Bieber. The couple was dubbed "Jelena" by the media, and were noted as being a teen power couple. Gomez began appearing in more films such as Monte Carlo (2011) and The Muppets (2011). Gomez, along with her band, later released their third studio album When the Sun Goes Down in 2011. The album spawned the hit single "Love You Like a Love Song", which was certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA. Following the release of the album, Gomez confirmed she would be taking a musical hiatus to focus on her acting career. She then went on to appear in the films Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Spring Breakers (2013), the latter of which saw Gomez portraying a more adult role.
Despite her early comments of a musical hiatus, Gomez confirmed in October 2012 that she was working on her solo debut album. The lead single, "Come & Get It", was released in April 2013. It became her first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. The album's second single, "Slow Down", was released in June. Gomez has since announced plans of a second musical hiatus following the release of Stars Dance in July. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Gomez is involved in philanthropic activities through charity work and various social and environmental causes.
Life and career
1992-2006: Early life and career beginnings
Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas. She is the daughter of former stage actress Amanda Dawn "Mandy" Teefey (née Cornett) and Ricardo Joel Gomez. Gomez was named after Tejano singer Selena, who died almost three years after Gomez was born. Her father is of Mexican ancestry; her mother, who was adopted, has some Italian ancestry. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has stated, "My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything that's Catholic, but we don't really have anything traditional except [that we] go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church." Her birth parents divorced when she was five years old, and she was raised as an only child by her working mother, who had her when she was 16. This led to the family having financial troubles, with her mother struggling to provide for them. On the situation, Gomez stated "I remember my mom would run out of gas all of the time and we"d sit there and have to go through the car and get quarters and help her get gas because she never liked to ask my grandparents for money. I remember having a lot of macaroni and cheese but my mom never made it seem like it was a big deal. She was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. My mom gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me." Gomez later elaborated on the topic, stating "I definitely didn't appreciate it when I was little. I was frustrated that my parents weren't together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me. I'm terrified of what I would have become if I'd stayed [in Texas]." In 2006, Mandy remarried Brian Teefey. Through her mother's marriage to Teefey, Gomez has a half-sister, Gracie Elliot, born on June 12, 2013.
While attending school as a child, Gomez has stated on numerous occasions that she was the victim of bullying. When speaking of the situation, Gomez said "I was bullied every second of every day in elementary and middle school [...] Obviously, people are going to bring you down because of your drive. But, ultimately, it makes you a stronger person to turn your cheek and go the other way." She later added "I was never the popular kid at school. I had two friends, but I just sat at the back of the room and got on with my work. School is such an awkward time in your life. I was never confident in school." In a 2009 interview with People, Gomez mentioned that she developed an early interest in acting from watching her mother prepare for and act in theater productions. While at an audition, Gomez met Demi Lovato, who was auditioning for the same series. The two later became best friends, and would later participate in various roles together. She earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010. Gomez officially earned her first role in 2002 when she was selected to appear on the children's television series Barney and Friends as the recurring character Gianna. She appeared in a total of sixteen episodes, with her final appearance being in 2004. Gomez later stated that her age had led to her departure from the show, with producers feeling she was getting too old. In 2003, Gomez made a cameo in the film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, making it her film debut. Following this, Gomez began appearing in various commercials. In 2005, she had a cameo role in the television film Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire as Julie. Gomez later guest starred in an episode of the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in 2006.
2007-08: Breakthrough and musical beginnings
In 2007, Gomez appeared in three episodes of the Disney series Hannah Montana. Gomez portrayed the character Mikayla, the rival of the series' title character. During this time, Gomez filmed two pilot episodes for potential Disney Channel series'; the first, titled Arwin!, was a spin-off to the Suite Life series, while the second was a spin-off to the series Lizzie McGuire. Gomez later starred in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place, portraying the lead role of Alex Russo. Gomez's character, along with the rest of her family, were wizards who owned a restaurant in New York; during the course of the series, the characters learn various spells and abilities that are useful to them. The series proved to be an immediate hit, giving Gomez mainstream success. Wizards earned Gomez numerous awards and nominations. The success of the series prompted many critics to compare Gomez to the highly successful Disney star Miley Cyrus. She was later named one of the "Eight Hot Kid Stars To Watch" by Forbes magazine. Gomez recorded the theme song for the series, titled "Everything Is Not What It Seems", making it her first musical release. The series aired for a total of four seasons, lasting until 2012.
In October 2008, Gomez launched her own production company, July Moon Productions, and partnered with XYZ Films. As part of the agreement, Gomez had the opportunity to option articles, hire writers and create talent packages to shop to studios. As part of the deal, Gomez was announced to be working on a film titled What Boys Want, in which her character could hear the thoughts of men. Ultimately, the film was never released. That same year, Gomez began dating fellow Disney star Nick Jonas. This led to Gomez appearing in the music video for the song "Burnin' Up", performed by Nick's band Jonas Brothers. The couple later broke up in 2009. During this time, Gomez began to focus more on music. She performed a cover of the song "Cruella de Vil" for the compilation album DisneyMania 6. Gomez later recorded the song "Fly to Your Heart" for the soundtrack of the animated film Tinker Bell. Gomez provided guest vocals on the Forever the Sickest Kids' single "Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)", which serves as Gomez's official debut musical release. The single failed to have much success, though it peaked at number 78 on the Billboard Pop 100 chart in the United States.
That same year, Gomez had the lead role in the Direct-to-DVD film Another Cinderella Story alongside Drew Seeley. Gomez portrayed Mary Santiago, a young girl who hoped to someday become a dancer. The film was released to generally positive reviews, and won the 2010 Writers Guild of America Award for Children's script-long form or special. For the soundtrack, Gomez recorded three songs. The song "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" was released as a promotional single for the album, with Gomez filming a music video for the release. "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" became her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 58. Later that year, Gomez had the supporting role of Helga in the animated film Horton Hears a Who!. The film was a commercial success, and went on to gross nearly three-hundred million dollars worldwide. She later appeared in the reality series Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream and Disney Channel Games, as well as the series Studio DC: Almost Live.
2009-11: Selena Gomez & the Scene
In 2009, Gomez continued to work on her acting career. She appeared in an episode of The Suite Life on Deck, portraying the character of Alex Russo. Her appearance served as a crossover between the series, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Hannah Montana, with all of the series' main characters appearing in the episode. Gomez later guest starred as herself on an episode of the Disney series Sonny With a Chance, which stars Gomez's good friend Demi Lovato. Gomez later provided the voice of Princess Selenia in the animated film Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard. Gomez, along with Lovato, starred in the Disney Channel film Princess Protection Program, which aired in June 2009. The film was a critical success, and had a total of 8.5 million viewers during its premiere. For the film, Gomez and Lovato recorded the song "One and the Same", which was later released as a promotional single with a music video. The song had minor success, peaking at number 82 on the Hot 100 chart. On August 28, 2009, Gomez starred in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, a television film based on the series. The film premiered to an audience of 11.4 million viewers becoming cable's No. 1 scripted telecast of 2009 and Disney Channel's second most-viewed film premiere after High School Musical 2. The film won the series its second consecutive Emmy for "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Gomez had been working on her debut album since signing with Hollywood Records in 2008, and later announced that she had formed a band known as Selena Gomez & the Scene. In August 2009, the band released their debut studio album Kiss & Tell. The album proved to be an immediate hit, debuting inside the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Kiss & Tell went on to receive a Gold certification from the RIAA, and spawned the Platinum certified single "Naturally". While the band began working on their second studio album, Gomez continued to work in film. In 2009, Gomez signed on to star as one of the two female leads in Ramona and Beezus, a film adaption of the children's novel series by Beverly Cleary. Gomez stated that she felt no pressure in taking more adult roles,saying "I think I'm fully aware of my audience and I'm still just a kid myself. I wouldn't do a role I don't feel comfortable doing or that my audience wouldn't feel comfortable seeing." The film premiered on July 23, 2010 and was met with generally positive reviews. Gomez was part of Sears' back-to-school fashion ad campaign. As part of the campaign Gomez was featured in the television commercials. In August 2009, Gomez also hosted the "Sears Arrive Air Band Casting Call" - to select five people for the first-ever "Sears Air Band", which performed at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Gomez was a spokesperson for Borden Milk, and was featured in the campaign's print and television ads. She was also a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance and appeared in numerous television commercials, which air on the Disney Channel, to raise awareness of being a safe driver. Gomez later began dating film star Taylor Lautner, though the couple broke up after a few months of dating.
Gomez and her band released their second studio album, A Year Without Rain, on September 17, 2010. The album continued the success of their previous effort, becoming their first album to reach the Top 5 of the Billboard 200. A Year Without Rain spawned two singles, both of which entered the Top 40 on the Hot 100 chart. It became the band's second album to receive a Gold certification from the RIAA. In October 2009, Gomez announced her plan to launch her own fashion line, called "Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez". The clothing line launched in the fall of 2010. The collection consisted of and featured bohemian dresses, floral tops, jeans, skirts, jackets, scarves and hats, all made from recycled or eco-friendly materials. Gomez said that the line reflected her own personal style and described the clothing as being "pretty, feminine, and bohemian". She was later quoted as saying, "With my line, I really want to give the customer options on how they can put their own looks together [...] I want the pieces that can be easy to dress up or down, and the fabrics being eco-friendly and organic is super important [...] Also, the tags will all have some of my inspirational quotes on them. I'm just looking to send a good message." Gomez teamed up with designers Tony Melillo and Sandra Campos, both who have worked with big-name fashion houses. Gomez said of the partnering, "When I met Tony and Sandra, I was instantly comfortable with them and now they are just like family to me ... They are so creative and I love how I can just call them up whenever and talk to them about everything, even if it's just about changing a button ... They've been so cool about everything." The brand was manufactured by, Melillo and Campos teamed with New York-based Adjmi Apparel and formed by Adjmi CH Brands LLC, the holding company for the brand.
On February 27, 2011, Gomez attended the 2011 Vanity Fair Oscar party with Canadian singer Justin Bieber, confirming several months of media speculation about a romantic relationship between the pair. The couple quickly gained much media attention, and were labeled "Jelena" by online sites. In March 2010, Variety reported that Gomez was set to star as one of the three lead roles in Monte Carlo, a film produced by Nicole Kidman, alongside Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy. In the film, Gomez plays Grace, a girl who's "mistaken for a socialite while on a trip to Paris." To prepare for the role, Gomez learned how to play polo and also took two weeks of vocal training to learn two different British accents. The film was released on July 1, 2011. That same year, Gomez appeared in a cameo role for the film The Muppets, and appeared in the Disney series' So Random! and PrankStars. On June 28, 2011 Gomez and her band released their third and final studio album When the Sun Goes Down. The album became their highest peaking album on the Billboard 200, and went on to receive a Gold certification from the RIAA. The album's second single, "Love You Like a Love Song", went on to become the band's most successful single, receiving a 4x Platinum certification from the RIAA. It was announced on July 14, 2011, that Gomez had signed a license agreement with Adrenalina, an extreme sports and adventure-themed lifestyle brand, to develop, manufacture, and distribute the actress' fragrance. Chairman and C.E.O. of Adrenalina, Ilia Lekach, said, "We are incredibly enthused to be working with Ms. Gomez and will reveal more details pertaining to the fragrance as we get closer to the launch date." Gomez later released the self-titled perfume.
2012-present: Focus on acting and Stars Dance
In January 2012, Gomez announced that she would put her music career on hold in order to focus on her acting career, and that the band would be taking a hiatus: "my band and I are going our separate ways for a while. This year is all about films and acting and I want my band to play music wherever with whoever. We will be back but, it will be a good while." She first appeared in Hotel Transylvania, an animated film, voicing the character of Mavis, alongside Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi. The film premiered at the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival and was released on September 21, 2012. Next, Gomez appeared in the Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers, alongside James Franco. The film premiered at the 69th Venice International Film Festival. A change from her previous work Gomez 'had a bit of a meltdown on set' but praised the director with 'not many people will take the chances, not like Harmony did' by casting her in a coming-of-age film. It was announced on July 30, 2012, that Gomez would partner with Case-Mate as part of its upcoming "Right Case, Right Occasion" marketing campaign. She will be teaming up with Fergie and Common to create fashionable custom phone cases for a good cause. In early November 2012, it was widely reported that Gomez and Bieber had ended their relationship after approximately two years together. They reconciled later that month.
Despite her earlier statements, Gomez confirmed in October 2012 that work had begun on an upcoming album. The album's lead single, "Come & Get It", was released on April 8, 2013. Gomez later confirmed that the album would be her solo debut album, rather than her band's fourth album. Gomez's debut album, Stars Dance, was released on July 23, 2013. Gomez has since confirmed that she plans to take another musical hiatus following the release of the album, and hopes to focus on her acting career.
Gomez had a cameo role in Aftershock, a thriller starring Eli Roth, which premiered at the 37th Annual Toronto International Film Festival. Gomez also appeared in the thriller Getaway, with Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight, which was released on August 30, 2013 in the United States.
Next, Gomez is set to star in the film adaptation of the Ric Browde novel While I'm Dead... Feed the Dog opposite Dylan McDermott and Nat Wolff. The film, titled Behaving Bad, will be directed by Tim Garrick. Gomez also reprised her role as Alex Russo in a one-hour special titled The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, that began production on October 22, 2012, and finished filming on November 10, 2012. It aired on Disney Channel on March 15, 2013. In April 2013, Gomez joined William H. Macy's directorial debut Rudderless. Filming began the same month.
Gomez names singer Bruno Mars as her major musical influence and idol, saying she is influenced in everything he does from "his style of music, his style in general, the way he performs, the way he carries himself". She admires Ella Fitzgerald, calling Fitzgerald her "favorite singer" continuing to praise her "beautiful voice" and Katy Perry whom she said "isn"t afraid to be herself onstage." Gomez also cites Rihanna as an influence saying "I think she"s very strong and classy. I look up to that. She carries herself very well."
Selena's debut album Stars Dance (2013) was prominently influenced by singers Britney Spears, Taylor Swift and Skrillex.
Gomez was involved in the UR Votes Count campaign which encouraged teenagers to learn more about 2008 presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. In October 2008, Gomez participated in St. Jude's Children's Hospital "Runway For Life" benefit. She is the ambassador of DoSomething.org after being involved with the charity Island Dog, which helps dogs in Puerto Rico. She got involved while filming Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie in Puerto Rico. Gomez is also involved with the charity RAISE Hope For Congo, an initiative of the Enough Project, which helps raise awareness about conflict minerals and violence against Congolese women. Gomez is involved in Disney's Friends for Change, an organization which promotes "environmently-friendly behavior", and appears in its public service announcements. Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers recorded "Send It On", a charity single with all of its proceeds to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 20. Also in 2009, Gomez made a surprise visit to a Los Angeles elementary school as part of the "A Day Made Better" program that was sponsored by OfficeMax. During her visit, Gomez gave the school an award and $1,000 worth of school supplies, and talked to students about the importance of giving back to the community. On January 22, 2010, Gomez participated in the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon with a number of other celebrities. In April 2012, Gomez was named ambassador to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
Work with UNICEF
In October 2008, Gomez was named UNICEF's spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which encouraged children to raise money on Halloween to help children around the world. She said that she was "extremely excited" to "encourage other kids to make a difference in the world."
In August 2009, a 17-year-old Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever, passing fellow songstress Hayley Westenra, who was 18 when she was chosen. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana on September 4, 2009 for a week to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities including clean water, nourishment, education and healthcare. Gomez explained during an interview with Associated Press that she wanted to use her star power to bring awareness to Ghana: "That's why I feel very honored to have a voice that kids listen to and take into consideration [...] I had people on my tour asking me where IS Ghana, and they Googled it [...] and because I went there, they now know where Ghana is. So it's pretty incredible." Gomez said of her role as ambassador that: "Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality."
Gomez was named spokesperson for UNICEF's 2009 Trick-or-Treat campaign, for the second year in a row. Gomez, who raised over $700,000 for the charity in 2008, stated that she hopes to be able to raise 1 million dollars in 2009. Gomez participated in a celebrity auction and hosted a live web cast series on Facebook in support of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. Gomez returned as the UNICEF spokesperson for the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2010. In celebration of the 60th anniversary, Gomez and her band, The Scene, held a benefit concert donating all proceeds to the campaign.
In February 2011, Gomez traveled to Chile to witness and meet with the families of UNICEF's supported program, "Programa Puente" which helps families better understand and develops skills to deal effectively with early childhood education, development and other issues related to raising children. From her field trip experience, Gomez said "UNICEF is helping Chilean families get out of poverty, prevent violence within the home and promote education. To witness first hand these families' struggles, and also their hope and perseverance, was truly inspiring." In March 2011, Gomez participated in the UNICEF Tap Project's "Celebrity Tap Pack" limited-edition, custom-made water bottles featuring tap water from the homes of each celebrity advocate, in order to raise funds and increase profile for the clean water and sanitation programs. She is also featured in videos promoting the campaign.