Most people recognize Selena Gomez from her Disney debut on Wizards of Waverly Place in 2007, or her subsequent music career. Although she rose to the spotlight during recent years, Gomez has actually been working since age seven. A decade later she became a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) ambassador. Think about that – working from the age that most of us are learning to read fluently, and becoming a role model at seventeen, when many haven’t even graduated high school. Suffice to say she’s never had a typical life, and that kind of fame opens you up to immense scrutiny.
Just three short days ago Selena Gomez announced in an interview with Billboard Magazine that she was diagnosed with Lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which she will have for the rest of her life. When she was diagnosed in December 2013, Gomez cancelled the later segments of her Stars Dance Tour and checked herself into a treatment center in Arizona. The Meadows center specializes in treating addiction and trauma. However, Gomez emphasized to her fans that it was her choice and that she needed time for herself.
Moments like this that make me think: “Okay, she gave us a reason when she didn’t have to. She’s not hiding anything.” As always, the media thought otherwise. They assumed and browbeated the notion of a more scandalous reason into people’s heads. “It has to be drugs! Oh, wait maybe she has a drinking problem! Well, wait a minute…we know what it is! It must be from her break up with Justin!”. What else could you expect from a group of people that get their paychecks by bashing celebrities, and making them feel uncomfortable everywhere they go?
Gomez shared that she underwent chemotherapy three years ago because of her Lupus. She had to keep it a secret from millions of people and deal with all of these attacks from the media, without being able to share the truth and stand up for herself. She hid herself, waiting until she was comfortable and confident again to reveal the truth. Through all of that she stayed strong for three torturous years of bullying. The story serves as another reminder that fame is both a blessing and a curse.
Now, Selena Gomez is on a mission to take her life back. She wants to let everyone know that this is her time and that no one can take that away from her as she releases her second studio album. At age twenty-three she is making a way towards finding her own identity and refuses to let anything or anyone get in the way. Her latest album is aptly titled Revival and was released on October 9th. And yet, even with this milestone the media assumes that her perseverance is based on a man, her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber. This time, Gomez fired back with a response during her Billboard interview: “No. This is my time. I’ve deserved this. I earned it. This is all me.”
Amidst the ups and downs, Gomez gladly admits her Lupus is now in remission. With medication and a new diet routine, she plans on staying as healthy as possible. Others struggling from illness can now relate to the already inspirational Gomez. Even the cover of her new album speaks to her personal empowerment, as she chose to pose mostly nude. I can imagine her saying, “I control my life, and I love myself. I’m not afraid of what critics might say because I’ve come so far and won’t be put down by their opinion.” I aspire to have that mindset, not to mention the strength she has proved time and time again. With that said, I can’t wait to listen to her new album, which can be bought on iTunes as of yesterday.