Words – Alim Kheraj
Ahead of the release of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, which she executive produced alongside her mum, Selena Gomez has been opening up about social media, bullying and what it was really like on the Disney Channel.
Selena has spoken about her dangerous social media addiction, and how going to rehab and therapy was the greatest thing she could have done for her mental health.
The star announced last year that she was planning to take an extended break from the spotlight to focus on her mental health, and revealed that she had spend 90 days in a rehab facility without using her cell phone.
Now Selena Gomez has opened up about her experiences growing up on the Disney Channel, and why she’s constantly deleting Instagram.
In an interview with the New York Times discussing her new Netflix show, Selena spoke about how she connected with the show’s source material, a book of the same name written by Jay Asher.
‘I think [Asher] understood that I knew what it meant to be bullied. I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel,’ Selena said about her decision to option the rights to the book. ‘And my mom had a lot of history dealing with [bullying]. I heard her stories growing up. She’s very open about it.’
Expanding on this, Selena’s mother, Mandy Teefey, told how she was bullied and how (after becoming pregnant with Selena as a teenager) she understood what it was like to get judged.
‘I had counsellors telling me how I’d ruined my life, [Selena’s] life and how I ruined the father’s life,’ she said, ‘even though he participated.’
13 Reasons Why tells the story of the aftermath when a teenager, Hannah, commits suicide. The plot tells how, before she died, Hannah sent 13 tapes to people, and follows the story of her classmate, Clay, as he tries to uncover what lead her to take her own life.
Despite optioning the rights to the book years ago, the story, both Selena and Mandy say, needs to be told to help save lives – especially in the age of social media.
When asked about how she deals with negative comments on her social media accounts (Selena currently has the most Instagram followers on the platform), the star said that she struggles to drown out the hate.
‘You can’t avoid it sometimes. I delete the app from my phone at least once a week,’ she explained. ‘You fixate on the [negative] ones. They’re not like, “You’re ugly.” It’s like they want to cut to your soul. Imagine all the insecurities that you already feel about yourself and having someone write a paragraph pointing out every little thing — even if it’s just physical.’
While we can’t understand the pressure entirely on Selena Gomez’s level, we totally get how social media can be too much sometimes. In fact, we think sometimes deleting the apps and taking some time out for yourself is probably a good thing.
What’s more, we’re so glad that she and her mother have decided to help tell the story of 13 Reasons Why. We couldn’t agree more that in today’s society it’s important to tell stories about mental health, especially for young people.
13 Reasons Why comes to Netflix on the 31st of March.
From the editors of HelloGiggles