Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for “Selena Gomez: My mind and me.
Singer and actress Selena Gomez’s long-awaited documentary, “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me,” was released November 4 on Apple TV. The film gives a glimpse into his life behind closed doors for the first time. It sees the former Disney Channel star getting candid about her recent battle with lupus and her mental health, while balancing her obligations as a celebrity.
The first part of the documentary looks back on his 2016 “Revival Tour,” which was his second solo concert tour. From outfit fittings to rehearsals, the tour was a break from her Disney Channel teen idol image and established her as a mature performer and woman.
Gomez was in her early twenties at the time, but she had already reached a level of fame that separated her from the rest. She was the star of Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” which premiered in 2007. When the show ended in 2012, she started taking on some risque projects such as the 2012 movie “Spring Breakers.” She was also involved in a high-profile relationship with Canadian singer Justin Bieber, which would finally end in 2018 after being on and off for nearly a decade.
Unfortunately, criticism and the hope of success in the industry were slowly crushing Gomez, as she fell apart with her crew after rehearsing for the tour. “The pressure is overwhelming because I want to do my best,” Gomez said.
After 55 performances, the tour was canceled due to her depression and anxiety. Along with undergoing a kidney transplant in 2017 due to complications from an autoimmune disease, she experienced an emotional breakdown that led to her being admitted to a mental institution. It was then that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to go to a mental hospital,” she said. “I didn’t want to, but I didn’t want to be trapped in myself anymore – in my mind.”
Fast forward to 2019, she finally started thinking about the changes in her life. Needing a mental health break, Gomez returned to her hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas to reconnect with old neighbors and friends. There she visited her childhood home and the college she attended.
“After coming out of the last treatment center, I knew what made me happy was the connection,” she said.
In a montage of home videos, viewers caught a glimpse of her parents raising her in high school, despite splitting when she was five. As a result, her biological father was not as present in her upbringing as she would have liked. However, the times they spent together are close to his heart.
“He has a lot of regrets…” she said in tears. “But, he made me feel like I was the prettiest young girl. Like I [could] do anything…”
Later, Gomez ventured to Kenya working with WE Charity alongside her close friend Raquelle Stevens. Here she was able to talk with young students and connect with them on a spiritual level outside of Hollywood glamour. In an inspiring testimony, one of the students had an intimate conversation with Gomez regarding their perseverance in life.
“I always tell myself that no matter what people think of me and what God has planned for me in my life, that’s what I will achieve in life,” the student said.
In an epiphanic moment, she thrived on being surrounded by a community that valued self-reflection and encouragement. Unfortunately, Gomez’s happy time in Kenya was cut short when she returned to her reality of press tours and interviews which were fully broadcast after the trip. Suddenly, the effervescent glow on his face was replaced by a manufactured smile for the cameras.
“I feel like a product,” she exclaimed angrily after an interviewer asked her superficial questions.
When the next interview made her sit in the mirror and ask herself questions like, “What’s your ultimate dream?” she revealed her desire to help people’s lives. Ultimately, “that I could be a voice for others,” she said. In the midst of it all, the adrenaline rush of productivity took a toll on his physical well-being when a relapse of lupus hit.
“Like, in the morning when I wake up, I immediately start crying because it hurts,” she explained as she sought medical consultation to deal with the intense symptoms.
“I don’t want to be, like, super famous. I don’t want to be all that. But I know if I’m here I have to use it for good,” she confessed.
From volunteering to rekindling past relationships, “My Mind & Me” explores Gomez’s search for purpose. In an industry that disillusions people with the realities of life, she demonstrated how she fell victim to it.
However, she hopes her self-awareness has given others the courage not to be ashamed to admit personal troubles.
“When you’re struggling with your mental health, the key is knowing what to do and acknowledging it,” she said.
Celebrities are often seen as completely disconnected from society and put on a pedestal. Thanks to her transparency, she managed to make it clear that her life is not at all perfect.
To accompany his documentary, his single “My Mind and Me” reveals more of his inner conflicts and explores the misjudgment of his life due to fame. In doing so, Gomez breaks down that boundary and reminds us that she is also a human being.
Gomez implored his audience not to be so self-critical and to embrace tribulation as a stepping stone to success. Despite the challenges that being in the spotlight brings, she appreciates the opportunities her platform provides. She intends to put it to good use by shedding light on difficult topics like mental health and disabling illnesses.
This documentary is not a plea for pity. Instead, it’s a celebration of honesty. As Gomez said herself, “I’m a work in progress. I have enough. I am Selena.
Julissa Ramirez is an Arts and Entertainment Intern for the Fall 2022 term. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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