Selena Gomez was turned into a blonde bombshell in the vein of pinup Marilyn Monroe of How To Marry A Millionaire and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes fame for her latest photo shoot.
The singer - who will next star with Steve Martin in the series Only Murders In The Building - landed the cover of ELLE's September 2021 issue is the brand's first-ever Latinx issue, which will be on newsstands August 31.
Inside the 29-year-old superstar touched on how she was made to feel sexualized at a young age.
'For a while, I felt like an object,' said the beauty. 'It felt gross for a long time.'
When a teen she was starring on Wizards Of Waverly Place, then she started dating Justin Bieber (they were on and off from 2011 until 2018) and cranked out songs like the suggestive Come & Get It.
In 2019 she told WSJ Magazine that the lyrics in 2013 track Come & Get It did not seem right. She was only 20-years-old when she made the album.
'That's so not my personality,' she admitted. 'The lyrics are, "When you're ready, come and get it." I would never say that!'
And in 2020 she told Allure she felt she had to play the role of a siren when she was young.
'I just did things that weren't really me. There was pressure to seem more adult on my album, Revival. [I felt] the need to show skin... I really don't think I was [that] person,' she said; the album came out in 2015 when she was 23.
She also talked about the pressure to look perfect and the part social media plays.
In 2017 she deleted her Instagram account from her phone. Now she says it helped her with her mental health: 'I don't have it on my phone, so there's no temptation. I suddenly had to learn how to be with myself.'
That was 'annoying,' because in the past, 'I could spend hours looking at other people's lives. I would find myself down nearly two years in someone's feed, and then I'd realize, 'I don't even know this person!' Now I get information the proper way. When my friends have something to talk about, they call me and say, 'Oh, I did this.' They don't say, 'Wait, did you see my post?'
People thought she was a wild party animal. But she was far from that: the star was diagnosed with Lupus in 2014, and had to take time out to heal.
Some thought she was going to rehab for substance abuse.
'I don’t even know what they really believed I was doing—drugs, alcohol, running around, partying. The narrative was so nasty,' added the star.
Also in the issue the siren talked about how she has had struggle after struggle which should have torn her down.
'My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks—these were all things that honestly should have taken me down,' Selena told Carina Chocano.
Sometimes it was overwhelming.
'Every time I went through something, I was like, What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?' added the red carpet favorite.
And then she realized there was a reason for her pain: 'You're going to help people. That's really what kept me going. There could have been a time when I wasn't strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself,' she shared.
On what she wants to be remembered by and how that has shifted her focus: She asked herself, 'What's the purpose of this?' Visiting kids in hospital wards, having fans come up to her to say how Lose You to Love Me has helped them through a divorce—these things meant more to her than say, posting a random picture of her nails.
'I'm like, 'I've got to do something [more]. After I'm gone, I want people to remember me for my heart.' Everything that I'm attached to has a charity aspect. If something good isn't coming out of it, I'm not going to do it. I don't need money, I need people who want to fight with me.'
Gomez, who embraced her Latinx heritage in her work in a big way this year, is releasing her first Spanish-language album, Revelación and producing and starring in the upcoming biopic In the Shadow of the Mountain, about Peruvian mountain climber Silvia Vásquez-Lavado.
On putting out Revelación, her first record in Spanish: 'It was a challenge. I think speaking in Spanish is a lot easier than singing.'
She worked with Spanish coach: 'I made sure that I didn't look like a fool.'
The Texas native added: 'I focused so hard on making sure that the language I was speaking, and the way I was speaking it, was authentic. I wanted it to exude love—to talk about pain, but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren't good for us.'
And she will not ever quit making music.
'I'm not saying I want a Grammy. I just feel like I'm doing the best I can, and it's all about me. Sometimes, that can really get to me.'
Music, unlike acting, is so personal, she says: 'You're pouring yourself out.'
Selena on bonding with her Only Murders in the Building costars, Steve Martin and Martin Short and teaching Steve Martin the lyrics to WAP.
'There was a line in the script that said, She's an OG. And Steve walked up and said, "Can somebody tell me what OG means?" I started dying laughing,' said the pinup.
On another occasion, she taught him the lyrics to 'WAP.' 'Steve said, 'Marty, I just heard new lyrics to 'Top Hat and Tails,' Martin Short recalls.
Steve Martin and Martin Short on working with Gomez: 'She's a brilliant actress,' Martin Short tells me over the phone. 'And there's an immediate warmth and loveliness to her.'
She impressed Steve Martin, too. 'Marty and I were both knocked out by her understanding that quiet acting is powerful acting,' he says, adding, 'Marty doesn't yet understand this.'
Gomez loved working with the older actors. 'I got to be in a space with so much wisdom. They became my uncles.' Martin echoed the sentiment: 'We ended up feeling very close to Selena.'
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.