Hollywood's hardly known for encouraging traits like authenticity in its biggest stars. But that hasn't stopped Selena Gomez from staying true to herself when it comes to her work. In fact, authenticity is a driving force for the singer, actress and Rare Beauty creator.
Speaking at the virtual Teen Vogue Summit on Saturday, Dec. 5, Selena, 28, opened up about her own journey towards self-awareness and how she's funneled that growth into music like her new album, "Rare," and other projects, like her beauty line and HBO cooking show, "Selena & Chef."
"It's important for me to be authentic and to connect to something," she said in reference to her business interests as well as her acting and singing career. "Otherwise, it seems a bit pointless to me. It requires a lot of hard work. But the payoff is amazing."
On "Rare," for example, Selena looked deep into her own, internal struggles to find inspiration for new music. The results were a hit with critics and fans, alike.
"The whole theme of my last album was a lot of self-discovery," she explained. "A lot of being OK being alone and being vulnerable, being OK with not looking like everything else, like everyone else."
In that, sense "Rare" was the product of the self-work Selena spent much of the past few years doing, both with and without professional help.
She's also long advocated for the importance of being open about mental health issues, having struggled with anxiety and depression for many years, particularly after the stress of her kidney transplant.
Asked about her commitment to being open about her mental health challenges, she explained how discussing those issues gave her a whole new perspective on them.
"I think it's less scary when you talk about it. So that's some sense of freedom that I gained once I did," she said.
"I think I had a moment where I felt different. Like, 'Why do I react this way? Why do I feel the way I do and nobody else does?' and I had to figure that out. I didn't want just to stay in this place of confusion."
She hasn't wanted others to be stuck in that place, either.
"My journey personally has been all about my timing; when I felt like it was working, that's when I suddenly became so obsessed with making sure that everybody I knew understood that sharing your emotions [was] great," Selena said. "How I'm a huge advocate for therapy. How I feel like there are support groups for everybody, and it's OK … there's no way that people aren't feeling a certain way, whether they're figuring that out on their own or not, we all need each other."
The "Wizards of Waverly Place" alum returns to the small screen next year alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short in Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building," which Selena's also executive producing.