Selena Gomez on embracing her Mexican heritage and being a Latina role model

Selena Gomez wishes there was one part of her Mexican culture that she embraced more. “I look at myself in the mirror every day and think, ‘Man, I wish I knew more Spanish,’” the 25-year-old confessed in a new interview with Harper’s Bazaar. The Disney Channel alum noted that her heritage is "extremely" important to her and recalled meeting a Latin fan's mother while filming Wizards of Waverly Place, who told her, "It’s really incredible for my daughters to see that a Latina woman can be in this position and achieve her dreams, someone who isn’t the typical, you know, blonde with blue eyes.”

Selena added, "And I knew what she meant. When I was younger my idol was Hilary Duff! I remember wanting blue eyes too. So I think I recognized then that it meant something to people. That it matters. Even recently I’ve experienced things with my dad that were racially charged."


harpers-selena-gomez-coverVIEW GALLERY Selena Gomez appears on the cover of Harper's Bazaar Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

Nonetheless, the actress noted that she likes to keep her culture and work apart. She explained, “Most of the time, though, I try to separate my career from my culture because I don’t want people to judge me based on my looks when they have no idea who I am. And now more than ever, I’m proud of it. But I still need to learn Spanish.”  The Wolves singer’s impact isn’t just felt within the Hispanic community. Selena, who has the most followers on Instagram, admitted that she wants to encourage younger people to put more emphasis on life outside of the web.

MORE: Selena Gomez feels "empowered" in latest Puma ad

“I have a complex relationship with Instagram, to say the least. It has given me a voice amid all the noise of people trying to narrate my life for me and allows me to say, “Hey, I’m gonna post this, and this is gonna take care of the 1,200 stories that people think are interesting but actually aren’t, and aren’t even true,” the 13 Reasons Why producer shared. “So it empowers me in that way because it’s my words and my voice and my truth. The only thing that worries me is how much value people our age place on social media. It’s an incredible platform, but in a lot of ways it’s given young people, myself included, a false representation of what’s important. So, yeah, it’s a complex relationship. Probably one of my most difficult relationships."

selena-gomez-harpers-bazaarVIEW GALLERY The Wolves singer says that she wishes she spoke more Spanish Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

While 2017 was a great year for the superstar, she said that 2018 will be even better as she is making sure she puts herself first. “I’m going to say [it will] because I believe that for myself. And anyone who knows me knows I will always start with my health and my well being,” Selena shared. “I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been very vocal about it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll ever overcome. There won’t be a day when I’m like, “Here I am in a pretty dress— I won!’”

MORE: See the changes Selena made to her Instagram 

She continued: “I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else. I’m starting my year off with that thought. I want to make sure I’m healthy. If that’s good, everything else will fall into place.”

More about