Selena Gomez needs to chill.
The 21-year-old singer/actress is getting heat to cut back on a frenetic schedule. But for someone that’s been in front of the cameras, rehearsing lines since she was 7 years old, taking a break from the pressure to perform requires a friendly nudge.
“I have people saying ‘Have fun!’ You know, like be able to just enjoy where I am,” Gomez said. “But I want to do a lot, though. I love what I do. I’m obsessed with what I do.”
Right now, her obsession is with her career, not swatting rumors about her personal life, or reports that she was diagnosed with lupus. Gomez is very much calling the shots when it comes to guarding her name and reputation.
Which is why she was quick to point out that her recent trip to Nepal, as a UNICEF Ambassador, highlighted the disconnect her career has created with the outside world.
“It was beautiful. It was spiritual,” she said of the journey. “I never showered, ever, because I was in the field every day and it just felt like I was removed, completely, from my bubble that I live in,” she said. “And it was incredible.”
Sitting cross-legged on the floor in the middle of a dilapidated building, Gomez surrounded herself with village children, getting a wake-up call to the differences between her needs, and those living in a developing country.
“I mean, I was visiting with children who were trying to beg their parents for a toilet,” Gomez recalled. “And we’re complaining we got to do stuff every day. That’s when you really understand and that was the best gift that I received. Because I consume all of this energy from the world essentially that is like a pressure and it’s a sense of focusing on certain things that are totally not what this world is about.”
And yet, Gomez is not without her own needs.
She’s reaching for privacy and the public’s patience in letting her develop into something more complex than the Disney show kid.
“I’ve always loved my life,” she said. “I think there are certain parts of my life I wish I could have to myself and things I could do and grow and experience. But it would almost be just hypocritical of me if I complained about it. I think it’s silly sometimes what happens, but I love what I do and I guess I gotta deal with it.”
And unless her idea of relaxation is practicing scales, it doesn’t look like Gomez is taking much time for herself, having just started piano lessons.
“I know how to play a little bit, but you genuinely have to be confident,” she explained. “I’ve learned two of my songs before but I’ve just been terrified, so now I have a professional teaching me and I’m going to be amazing.”