Selena Gomez, who has gained an astounding 110 million followers on her Instagram alone — making her the most followed person on the social media platform — still feels the pressures of impressing a crowd.
The singer graces the latest Vogue in her first cover for the American version of the magazine, opening up about the struggles she faced when it came to the transition of her music (and subsequently, her fans) and how that affected a great deal of her mental health.
Recently known for embracing her vulnerable side and being authentic, it hasn’t always been easy for Gomez to reveal such an emotional part of her. Criticism for her work and personal life greatly shook the actress, who had to cancel tours and has checked into rehab facilities twice.
“I’ve cried onstage more times than I can count, and I’m not a cute crier,” Gomez recounts of her numerous breakdowns and panic attacks before and after a show.
During concerts, the singer felt the pressures of pleasing her audience and at times felt she wasn’t good enough. A big part of that doubt was through touring.
“Tours are a really lonely place for me,” she says. “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious.”
Her disconnect from her fans was another reason for self-doubt. She couldn’t relate to her newer demographics of fans because she wasn’t allowing herself to face her own issues.
“I was so used to performing for kids. At concerts I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough,” she explained. “Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t say, ‘Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!’ It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same shit they’re dealing with.”
With no movies coming out and no album dropping soon, Gomez finally feels like the pressure is off.
“For a change, it feels like I don’t have to be holding my breath and waiting for somebody to judge a piece of work that I’m doing.”
Currently, Gomez is an executive producer for the upcoming Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which is an adaptation from the book. It talks about issues of teen suicide and social media pressures that the star holds dearly to her heart.
The April issue is out at newsstands today (March 16).