Selena Marie Gomez (/səˈliːnə məˈriː ˈɡoʊmɛz/ sə-LEE-nə mə-REE GOH-mez; Spanish pronunciation: [seˈlena ˈɣomes]; born July 22, 1992) is an American singer and actress. She was first featured on the children’s series Barney & Friends in the early 2000s. In 2007, Gomez came to prominence after being cast in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place, in which she starred as the lead character, Alex Russo, until its conclusion in 2012. She formed the band Selena Gomez & the Scene after signing a recording contract with Hollywood Records in 2008; they released the studio albums Kiss & Tell (2009), A Year Without Rain (2010), and When the Sun Goes Down (2011) before beginning a hiatus in 2012.
Gomez entered the film industry with star billings in feature films including Ramona and Beezus (2010), Monte Carlo (2011), and Hotel Transylvania (2012). She embraced an increasingly mature public image with her star billing in the film Spring Breakers (2013) and her 2013 debut solo studio album, Stars Dance. The latter project debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and included the Billboard Hot 100 top-ten single “Come & Get It.” Gomez was released from her recording contract with Hollywood Records following the completion of her compilation album For You (2014). She subsequently signed with Interscope Records to continue work on her sophomore studio album, Revival (2015). It debuted at number one in the US and featured the top-ten singles “Good for You“, “Same Old Love” and “Hands to Myself.”
Beyond entertainment, Gomez has ventured into other endeavors. She has worked with numerous organizations for charitable causes, and has most notably worked with UNICEF for several years. She formed her own production company, July Moon Productions, in 2008. In late 2010, Gomez launched a clothing line she called “Dream Out Loud” through Kmart.
Life and career
1992–2005: Early life and career beginnings
Selena with her father at the Houston Livestock Show in 2011
Selena Marie Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas on July 22, 1992, to Ricardo Joel Gomez and former stage actress Amanda Dawn “Mandy” Cornett. Gomez was named after Tejano singer Selena. Her father is of Mexican descent while her mother, who was adopted, has some Italian ancestry. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has stated, “My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything that’s Catholic, but we don’t really have anything traditional except [that we] go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church.” Gomez’s parents divorced when she was five years old, and she remained with her mother. Gomez has two siblings. Her sister, Gracie Elliot Teefey, was born to Amanda and her second husband Brian Teefey on June 12, 2013. Gomez has a second sister, Victoria Gomez, born to Ricardo and his wife Sara on June 25, 2014. She earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010.
When Gomez was born, her mother was sixteen years old. The family had financial troubles during Gomez’s childhood, with her mother struggling to provide for the pair. At one point, Gomez recalled the pair had to search for quarters just to get gas for their car. Her mother later recalled the two would frequently walk to their local dollar store to purchase spaghetti for dinner, though got by. Gomez stated, “I was frustrated that my parents weren’t together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me. I’m terrified of what I would have become if I’d stayed [in Texas].” She later added that “(My mom) was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me sacrificed her life for me.” Gomez had a close relationship with her grandparents as a child, and appeared in various pageants growing up.[unreliable source?] Her grandparents often took care of Selena while her parents finished their schooling, and the pair went as far as stating that they “raised her” up until she found success in the entertainment industry.[unreliable source?]
Selena first gained an interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry watching her mother prepare for stage productions. She began auditioning for various roles, meeting Demi Lovato during an audition for Barney and Friends. Both girls were later selected to appear on the series in 2002, with Gomez portraying the character of Gianna. The show was her first experience in acting, with Gomez recalling, “I was very shy when I was little […] I didn’t know what ‘camera right’ was. I didn’t know what blocking was. I learned everything from Barney.” Gomez appeared in fourteen episodes of the show between 2002 and 2004, though the show’s producers released her as she was getting “too old” for the series. While working on the series, Gomez had a cameo role in the film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and the made-for-television film Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire (2005).