'I was born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, which is a really small town outside of Dallas. My mom and dad had me when they were 16 and 17—that’s kind of what you do in my hometown, start a family really young. But I always wanted to perform—I was a really dramatic kid. My mom would let me run around and make short films and the entire neighborhood would audition for me, just for fun! At that point, we couldn’t afford for me to go out and do pilot season, so I would just put myself on tape instead. We finally moved out to California when I was 13 and everything took off from there.
I was on Wizards of Waverly Place from when I was 14 until I was 18 or 19 and I thank God for that show—it gave me a legitimate family. The whole cast and crew were all there before anything started, they saw me at my best and at my worst, and could call me out on my shit. People ask how I feel about having such a young fan base because of that show—I’m proud of it! Sure it put me in that box of being a Disney kid, but I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Last year, I filmed a new movie called Rudderless, directed by William H. Macy, who’s amazing, and starring Billy Crudup—it’ll be out this October. It’s about a man whose son commits suicide—I play the son’s girlfriend. The entire process was really emotional because the character really had an effect on me. She’s not really likeable, partially because she’s so hurt. It’s such a different role for me, which is thanks in part to Spring Breakers—I gained so much from that, and now I want to regroup and do more projects in the indie space. There’s more freedom in it, the people are really inspiring, and I’m in a position as an actress where I want to be surrounded by really great people who I can learn from. I don’t care how big the part is, if it’s a great character that I feel I can relate to, I’m down.
ON GROWING UP
It’s been such a transitional year for me—I moved out of my parents’ house this year and into my own place. I also took my first break ever and have been using the time to really concentrate on what makes me happy. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, I don’t handle all of this as well as people think, so it’s been important to really figure out what makes me feel grounded.
The older I get, the prouder I am to be a woman in the industry. When I was younger and running around all the time on tour, I don’t think I took the time to notice how being a woman in my position is really a gift. I want to make sure I utilize all that power. I was in Nepal for six days with UNICEF recently and it was so humbling to be immersed in someone else’s environment—I wish I could bottle that feeling up and bring it home with me. It was really empowering. So I think that’s what I’m most excited to share in my music and performance now—all the stuff that I’ve been living, because it’s been beautiful and awkward and authentic.
Sometimes I Google myself and look at what I wore last year—it kind of sucks to see when you got it wrong, but it’s nice to have that instant yearbook. Oh my God—there was this time when I went to the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood party and I wore a shirt that said ‘Hotter than’ something, and a belt with these weird net-y tights and boots, and like, a sock—it looked horrendous and then I put a blue streak in my hair. And I remember, I looked in the mirror and I was like—‘I feel so cool.’ And I mean, that’s awesome that I felt so good. But I cringe looking at it now.
But I never wear anything for any purpose other than making myself happy. So I love dressing up, I like trying new things. I’m inspired by music constantly, too—you can get away with more daring looks, like a ton of glitter that’ll look awesome in certain lighting. I don’t think you should ever have to ‘define your style’ because when you’re 22, you probably aren’t going to dress the same way you did when you were 16. You can define it for maybe a year at a time and that’s it.
My nanna adopted my mother when she was young and then my mom had me when she was young, so we’re all kind of close in age. But even though my nanna is only in her late 50s now, she’s taken care of her skin for as long as I can remember. She would always smell so good because she’d wash her face with Oil of Olay, and then she would moisturize, and she would just lie down and go to sleep. So when my mom hit about 21, my nanna started giving her old Olay products, sort of like hand-me-downs—even when my mom tries new things, she always goes back to Olay. And it must work because my mom has the most incredible, beautiful skin.
I like to have a good morning regimen. I use my Clarisonic in the shower with the Clarisonic Sonic Radiance Skin Renewing Peel Wash. I do that maybe four or five times a week, so my skin has a chance to breathe before all the madness starts. Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster on your cheekbones and around your eyes helps make you look alive. But what's really great is First Aid Beauty’s Eye Duty Triple Remedy—if you get dark circles, it’s the shit. I’ll put it on, it feels all good and cold, go have a coffee, and that’s the bomb. The Biore Deep Cleansing Strips make me feel really accomplished when I do them, too—plus they work!
When I don’t get a chance to do the whole routine in the morning, it really bums me out. It kind of affects your mood when you don’t take enough time to pamper yourself. When I’m home, I like to wake up at least an hour before I need to just to have coffee and not have makeup on.
Another thing I learned from my nanna and my mom is that less is more—you never want to look like you’re caked in anything. Most of the time I like to look matte, unless I’m on a red carpet—then it’s all about the Eva Mendes look with that glow. I use Laura Mercier Oil Free Supreme Foundation in Golden Beige every day. I'll follow that with MAC Mineralized Skinfinish in Medium, Instant Brow Pencil from Benefit in Medium to Dark, Gimme Brow from Benefit in Medium/Deep, then The Body Shop Baked to Last Bronzer in Golden Bronze. That’s the look!
If I want to be really bronzed, I use Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum all over my face. It has a little tint in it, but it doesn’t smell for days like self-tanner does. And because it’s a serum, it doesn’t make me break out. I never wear lipstick or lip gloss in my normal everyday life, but I do put the Fresh Sugar Lip Serum on morning and night to keep my lips hydrated. If I’m going into a meeting or something, I do the Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer as a pretty top-coat over a little Nars Lip Pencil.
The Victoria’s Secret Deluxe Eye Palette in Screen Siren[ed note: discontinued] is my favorite for eyes . When I do go out, it adds a little bit of sheen, I use the black shade as liner, and then the shadow in the crease, and that’s all I need. And I love the Urban Decay Naked Palette, too. Oh, and I have lash extensions because it makes everything easier—you just don’t have to worry about them.
All this hair isn’t mine—I have extensions as a sort of safety net when I’m on stage. It’s really nice to have the long mermaid hair to move around while you're being blasted with the fans up there. Plus it just makes me feel pretty. They’re all glued in with a protein bond and I use this specific brush that gets into the root when you’re brushing it out. U Luxury Shampoo and Conditioner are also really good for them. If they get tangled, I spray some of the Unite 7Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler in my hair, and in literally one second of brushing the tangles go away.
I’ve also gotten good at hiding all of my baby hairs. When my hair is natural, I have that Latina feel—it gets wavy and frizzy and I’ve had to learn to love it. You obviously always want what you don’t have, which is why I wear it straight so often. Recently though, I’ve been trying to wear it beachy because that’s a little more natural to who I am. The Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Hairspray or the Dry Texturizing Spray are really good for that. Oribe is good for everything.
I like to take my time in the shower and turn it into a steam room—right now I’m using The Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Sugar Eucalyptus Tea Scrub and USPA Mud Therapy Complete Body Rejuvenator. It’s so funny, when you use it your whole body looks like it’s covered in mud. So I put the shower on really hot, I put the scrub on, use this scrub brush from The Body Shop, wash that off, and then I’ll put the Mud on and sit and let it all soak in. Maybe I’ll shave with the EOS Moisturizing Shave Cream, which is nice because it isn’t too thick.
If I’m sore from training or rehearsing, I grab Handheld Heat Muscle Balm by Sumbody, which is great for when you have a stress knot. You just put it on it heats up. Or I use Still Standing Pain Relieving Spray because it’s easy.
Before I lived in my own house, I’d have a bunch of candles for my room in my parents’ house, and they would last forever. But now that I have this whole house, every room must have a scent! And I want them to be lit every night, because it just feels so good—I’ll light them in the piano room where we always have jam sessions or even during the daytime when I’m doing my makeup. My favorite scents are Voluspa Mokara and Voluspa Saijo Persimmon, neither of them are too expensive. I was into Le Labo for a while, but only in my room, because they’re expensive. I’ll save that for my tour bus now.”
—as told to ITG
Selena Gomez photographed in LA by Emily Weiss on September 15, 2014.