If you’ve watched the Selena Gomez documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, you know that it delves into some pretty difficult chapters in the 30-year-old singer’s life. From her battle against autoimmune disease lupus to a diagnosis of bipolar disease that sends the singer into a dark place, the Apple TV+ doc directed by Alek Keshishian (Madonna’s Truth or Dare) pulls back the curtain on some challenging passages in Sel’s career.
Keshishian told EW that the he could “feel her authenticity and her vulnerability” during the years-long shoot, a process that was “very difficult” for Gomez’s family to watch, especially her mother, Mandy Teefey. “The complicated feelings of a parent knowing her daughter suffered like that and she wasn’t able to help,” he said of Teefey, who had “huge reservations” about participating in the film at first.
“They’ve healed their relationship and they’re in a really good place but obviously making a documentary or even speaking about it in a sense, it’s like recutting yourself a little bit and having to face that moment again,” the director said of the at-times estranged feelings between mother and daughter. “It was a very delicate discussion and I was so happy and amazed, because Mandy is a really brave woman and she does a lot of work as well to help in the mental health space. And you see where Selena gets that desire to help others and to treat other people as equals, and it all comes from Mandy, in her upbringing. I was just myself and I spoke to her for a while before she agreed to do it. She was nervous on the day, and we just did our best.”
As for whether Teefey has seen the final product, Keshishian said Selena “definitely” has, but the last he heard her mom had not. “Mandy hasn’t felt ready to watch it,” he said. “And she talks about it on a recent podcast she did, where she says she’s not quite ready because of the pain for her of watching what her daughter went through, she’s not ready quite yet to face. But they’re in a beautiful place in their relationship”; Teefey told Jay Shett’s On Purpose podcast this week that she’s not ready to re-live her daughter’s struggles on film because, “It’s going to hurt my stomach and put me in that mindset. I’m going to wish I could go and protect her.”
Gomez, 30, celebrated a very special moment this week when she accepted the 2022 Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion for her work to raise awareness and educate young people about prioritizing mental health. The singer, who delves into her struggles with bipolar disease and mental health issues in My Mind & Me, told People what the award from the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation means to her.
“I am honored to be the recipient of this year’s Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion,” Gomez said in a statement. “Mental Health impacts all of us, and we each have a role to play in ensuring that everyone – regardless of their background – has access to mental health services. I hope by sharing my own story and using my platform, we can empower each other and more young people to address mental health. We know that the stigma associated with mental health has led to silence around the issue. I want to change that, especially for young people. I’ve been open and honest about my own journey with my mental health, and it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s something I’m constantly working on.”
Jay Ruderman, president of the family’s foundation, said in a statement that Gomez “powerfully” embodies the Foundation’s mental health mission, “which continues to take on greater importance amid today’s unprecedented mental health crisis for teens, young adults, and the entire population. Drawing inspiration from her personal journey, Selena has given voice to the struggles of countless individuals who have endured mental health challenges, while working tirelessly to increase access to indispensable mental health resources and programs.”
The singer have found multiple ways to raise mental health awareness and tie charitable donations to her projects recently, including tying donations to her HBO Max cooking show, Selena + Chef, as well as her Rare Beauty brand, whose Rare Impact Fund aims to raise $100 million for mental health services over the next decade.