At 23, Selena Gomez seriously shed her Disney past after posing topless on the cover of her Revival album.
Fortunately, she’s managed to do so without the aid of inflatable cocks like Miley Cyrus and maintained her dignity. And with almost 55 million Selenators following her on Instagram, it’s clearly working.
Gomez recently appeared at a Victoria’s Secret show, performing Me & My Girls, and now she’s dropped a teaser video for Hands To Myself, in which she poses in black lingerie, leaving her Barney & Friends days long behind her.
Losing that candy-coated image began when she played bikini-clad boozer Faith alongside James Franco in Harmony Korine’s beach-party-done-as art-house film Spring Breakers.
Since then, Gomez has ditched having her mum manage her. Speaking to InStyle, Gomez explains: “I knew I had to change something as I was recycling the same choices over and over again.
“I’m horrible at change and it’s terrifying, but also liberating. I had to pull myself out of this vortex of how people perceive me because I’ve been doing this since I was seven.”
Born in Texas, Gomez grew up with mum Mandy Teefey, who gave birth to Gomez when she was 16 before divorcing her father five-years later.
She landed her breakout role on the Disney Channel’s Wizards Of Waverly Place aged 15, later dating reformed douchebag Justin Bieber – in his douchier days – for four years until 2014.
When pushed on Bieber now, Gomez remains coy. “It’s really hard because I’m a nice person. I’m just tired of talking about it. I never intended for my life to become a tabloid story.”
“I give birth and had to wear a prosthetic vagina, now that was awkward!”
But a tabloid story it has become.
After being linked to One Direction defector Zayn Malik for the simple reason that they were following each other on Twitter, (“If he had asked me on a date, I would be seen with him. Just kidding, but not kidding.”) Gomez has now been seen out with Niall Horan.
Not that Gomez is comfortable with dating. “I hate dating. I’m weirded out by the idea that a guy has Googled me before we meet – that has happened. I feel like I look 16 sometimes, which is a bummer as I would love to date older guys.”
Gomez inevitably goes to every pop star’s best mate Taylor Swift for relationship advice. “People have this fantasy that we’re in our underwear, having pillow fights,” she admits, which is essentially true. ”But we just play good music and eat, and hang out.”
Gomez has also been working with Franco again, playing a young mother in an as-yet-untitled film he directed. She explains: “I give birth and had to wear a prosthetic vagina. Now that was awkward!”
Awkwardness aside, Gomez is established as a global phenomenon, firmly shedding her previous tag of ‘Bieber’s ex’. It seems to be mainly because, having grown-up, she’s comfortable in her own skin
But she’s still dubious about the effect social media has on people of her age. “Comparison. Every person of my generation does it, and that’s the number-one thief of joy, genuinely.”
Bet Gomez loves those Miley Cyrus comparisons, then.
Loaded reporter Robert McCallum has written for many leading culture magazines and websites about music, sport, science, politics, fashion and arts. Follow Robert at @therobmccallum