Born on July 22, 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas, Selena Gomez got an early start in show business as Gianna on “Barney & Friends.”
She made her screen debut soon thereafter in “Spy Kids 3-D” and subsequently appeared on such TV shows as “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life on Deck.” She then skyrocketed to fame starring as Alex on the Disney Channel’s Emmy-winning sitcom, “Wizards of Waverly Place.”
In 2008, the versatile entertainer started her musical career when she recorded several songs for the soundtrack of her Disney film, “Another Cinderella Story.” She has since had many hit tunes, including duets with Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, as well as with her own group, Selena Gomez and The Scene.
In 2009, Selena became the youngest UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in history at 17 years old. The following year, she launched her very own fashion line, the Dream Out Loud Collection.
Selena has long been romantically linked to pop idol Justin Bieber, and the couple was recently rumored to be building a love nest together in the San Fernando Valley.
Here, she talks about her new movie, “Hotel Transylvania,” an animated adventure in which she plays Dracula’s daughter, Mavis, who — despite her father’s objections — falls in love with a mere mortal.
What interested you in Hotel Transylvania?
It had a really good script, it’s really funny and has an amazing cast, so it was kind of a no-brainer.
How would you describe the movie?
I think it’s a really cute father-daughter film that touches on growing up, and on experiencing your daughter wanting to have independence. It’s a really sweet story that daughters and dads can relate to.
Did you have a lot of fun working on this film?
Yes, and for that particular reason. I love scary movies, so I really enjoyed being a part of a project that puts a twist on the scary formula.
How did you find portraying an animated character for the first time?
It was different for me, since I had never done something like that before. So, I enjoyed it. It was new. I would love to do it again. It was great!
You’ve already been acclaimed for singing and dancing, for acting on TV and film, for fashion, for your charity ambassadorship and you’re only 20 years old. What’s left for the rest of your life?
[Giggles] I don’t know. I guess I’m just sort of figuring it out. But I do enjoy everything I’ve been doing, and I feel very, very blessed and lucky.
What does it mean to you to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and what was the most fulfilling thing you did so far for UNICEF?
Working with UNICEF is very, very important to me. Like I said, I’ve been very blessed, so I feel that it’s very important for me to give back as much as I can and to use the platform that I have to kind of spread the word. What’s been most fulfilling is being able to travel with them and witness how this organization does what it believes in, which is saving kids’ lives.
How did you become so altruistic at such a young age? Where did you get your inspiration to do so much to help make the world a better place?
It’s always been important to my parents, and that’s where it came from. I was taught that no matter how little or how much we had, that it was important to give back. They always donated my clothes to shelters, and we’d always volunteer at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving. So, concern for the less fortunate has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.
Is there another pop icon whose career choices and level of success you’re trying to emulate or exceed?
There are a lot of people I look up to. But the person whose story has touched me the most is Katy Perry. She’s worked really hard to get to where she is, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight for her.
What was the last book you read?
“The 5 Love Languages.”
What was the last song you listened to?
I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean’s new album.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
Oh, I love Southern food, so any type of casserole.
Who is your favorite clothes designer?
For high, high-end fashion, it would have to be Marchesa.
If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
For everyone to be nice.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
My first concert ever, with Britney Spears.
What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
If you could meet anyone who has passed on, who would it be?
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
You have to love what you do. You really have to be passionate about it, and you can’t let anyone else get you down.
How do you want to be remembered?
For my work.