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Why Selena Gomez Gets "Triggered" by Her Former Child Star Past

"I don’t want to be who I was. I want to be who I am."

Selena Gomez has been famous for a very long time. The now 30-year-old actor and singer started working as a young child on the series Barney & Friends and came to fame as a teenager on the Disney Channel show Wizards of Waverly Place. Gomez's career took off from there, and she's been at it ever since, releasing albums and starring in movies and TV shows.

Over the years, Gomez has been open about child stardom and how it made her feel. In a new interview, she reveals that while she feels more free than ever, she's still sometimes "triggered" by her child star past. Read on to see what the Only Murders in the Building actor had to say.

READ THIS NEXT: Miley Cyrus Says "There's So Much She Doesn't Remember" About Being a Child Star.

Gomez feels free from her child star past.

Selena Gomez at the premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" in 2007
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

During an interview for Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue, Gomez was asked about once saying that she was haunted by the idea that she'd always be associated with her time with Disney. She confirmed that the feeling has changed since releasing her documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, in Nov. 2022.

"I definitely feel free of it," Gomez said.

Her documentary was very personal and revealing.

Selena Gomez at the Second Annual Academy Museum Gala in October 2022
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

My Mind & Me documented Gomez's journey with her mental health, including her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and an experience with psychosis. Sharing her story wasn't easy.

"Because I have the platform I have, it's kind of like I'm sacrificing myself a little bit for a greater purpose," Gomez told Rolling Stone ahead of the documentary's release. "I don't want that to sound dramatic, but I almost wasn't going to put this out. God's honest truth, a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure I could do it."

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Former Child Stars Who Regret Their Fame.

Still, her past sometimes triggers her.

Selena Gomez at an "Only Murders in the Building" FYC event in 2022
DFree / Shutterstock

After saying she felt more free in the Vanity Fair interview, Gomez admitted that she sometimes still feels "triggered" when it comes to her past.

"Sometimes I get triggered," she continued. "It's not that I'm ashamed of my past, it's just that I've worked so hard to find my own way. I don't want to be who I was. I want to be who I am."

She's done censoring herself.

Selena Gomez at the 2022 Critics' Choice Awards
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

In the Vanity Fair interview, Gomez talked about times that she censored herself. In My Mind & Me, someone Gomez knows questions her decision to share her bipolar diagnosis publicly.

"I'm just so used to censoring myself that it was a) me wanting to let go, and b) if they're telling me to be quiet about it, that's not good because that's genuinely not the place I'm in anymore," Gomez explained of her decision.

She added, "I don't want people to ever have anybody tell them, 'Don't say that because it'll seem bad. You won't get this job or that boy or that girl or whatever.' I guess I was rebelling."

Gomez felt under pressure as a young star.

Selena Gomez at the 2008 Teen Vogue Young Hollywood party
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

The idea of self-censorship is something Gomez also dealt with as a young star.

"I wasn't a wild child by any means, but I was on Disney, so I had to make sure not to say 'What the hell?' in front of anyone," she shared with Vanity Fair of her past. "It's stuff that I was also putting on myself to be the best role model I could be. Now I think being the best role model is being honest, even with the ugly and complicated parts of yourself."

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She's shared similar thoughts in the past.

Selena Gomez at the 2016 Grammy Awards
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

Back in 2016, Gomez spoke to GQ and acknowledged that the connection to her past would fade. Speaking about the transition from child star to adult she said, "Every single kid who was brought up like this is an easy target," calling the way child stars are treated "disgusting."

She added, "It's like watching a car crash as you're driving past it. You want to watch it."

At the same time, Gomez said she wouldn't fast-forward past the transition period. "No, because I'm not that stupid. And I get it," she said. "I just have to be patient. It's slowly dissolving the older I get. And I just have to be patient and make great things with quality, from producing to singing to acting. And one by one, I will be able to change the dialogue and people won't care about everything that's happened to me."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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