Selena Gomez has shed light on her decision to have an assistant handle her social media presence after she was picked apart by trolls during a break-up.
In an interview with Vanity Fair for their annual Hollywood issue, Gomez revealed she would be ‘constantly’ crying and having anxiety over the cruel comments she received from social media users.
Gomez, 30, said it was difficult being compared to another individual by trolls during the separation.
She has now created a ‘system’ where she has an assistant serve as a barrier between her and the comments by posting on her behalf.
‘I never got the chance to go to an actual high school. The world was my high school for the longest time, and I started getting inundated with information that I didn’t want,’ she explained. ‘I went through a hard time in a breakup and I didn’t want to see any of the [feedback]—not necessarily about the relationship, but the opinions of me versus [someone] else. There’d be thousands of really nice comments, but my mind goes straight to the mean one.’
Selena listed off the mean things trolls did during this time, including writing detailed paragraphs about her and calling her ‘ugly or stupid’
‘People can call me ugly or stupid and I’m like, Whatever. But these people get detailed. They write paragraphs that are so specific and mean. I would constantly be crying. I constantly had anxiety…I couldn’t do it anymore. It was a waste of my time.’
While Selena acknowledges social media has many benefits, including ‘connecting with fans’, she now only has TikTok on her phone as she finds that more manageable than other platforms.
‘The only thing I have on my phone is TikTok because I find it to be a little less hostile. There are wonderful things about social media—connecting with fans, seeing how happy and excited they are and their stories. But usually that’s filtered through [for me now]. I created a system. Everything I do I send to my assistant who posts them. As far as comments, my team will put together a few things that are encouraging.’
In her interview, Selena also revealed she sometimes gets ‘triggered’ when she is reminded of her past as a Disney star and finally feels ‘free’ from it.
The actress first appeared on screen as a child in Barney & Friends but she found wider fame when starring in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place from 2007 to 2012.
Selena said she has worked hard to separate herself from her time with the family friendly brand.
She said: ‘I definitely feel free of it. Sometimes I get triggered. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my past, it’s just that I’ve worked so hard to find my own way. I don’t want to be who I was. I want to be who I am.’
Selena also appeared in the Wizards of Waverly Place film and released music through Hollywood Records which also signed several other Disney stars including Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.
The star also said there were times during the early years of her career when she was told she couldn’t say or do certain things.
She said: ‘I wasn’t a wild child by any means, but I was on Disney, so I had to make sure not to say ‘What the hell?’ in front of anyone. It’s stuff that I was also putting on myself to be the best role model I could be.
‘Now I think being the best role model is being honest, even with the ugly and complicated parts of yourself.’
Selena previously told People she felt a lot of pressure to be ‘perfect’ while on the show as she was seen as a role model for young people.
She said: ‘I still live with this haunting feeling that people still view me as this Disney girl. That was my job in a way—to be perfect. You’re considered a figure kids look up to, and they take that seriously there.’
Elsewhere during her Vanity Fair interview, Selena was asked what advice she would give to a young person starting out in Hollywood now.
Not mincing her words, she said: ‘All I can say is, I would love to be there for you if you ever have questions. But this industry is a beast. It’s really scary to see what happens when you’re given so much power and money at a young age. I think it’s extremely scary.’
Selena added young people should be careful about who they trust and expressed relief that her sister Gracie, nine, has shown no interest in getting into the industry.
The singer also discussed going public with her bipolar diagnosis in her documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me.
The star said she doesn’t feel ashamed of her diagnosis and said the film has allowed her to ‘be open about everything’.
Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue, which also features Florence Pugh, Emma Corrin and Austin Butler, is out now.