Being a celebrity doesn’t make you as perfect as the public image your team puts out would make you seem. Just ask Selena Gomez. The singer and actress who got her start on the Disney Channel isn’t afraid to expose just how broken she’s been—just like the rest of us.
At first, she loved the jobs and the fame. She loved the acting and the singing, and everything was amazing. But as time went on, the awesome started to feel awful. The fun and quirky questions of countless journalists began to stink of vanity and feel pointless.
Yes, on the stage, Gomez looked and sounded great—the picture of success and happiness. But on the inside, Gomez felt lost. Even with her life so exposed, she felt lonely. And as her depression and anxiety worsened, she began to realize a truth: No matter how much worldly success she garnered, she would still struggle with self-doubts and self-deprecation.
In this documentary airing on AppleTV+, Gomez shares some of these hard-won lessons. No longer does she long for fame; she’s experienced it, and it’s been found empty. No, what she wants now is to use her story to help others through their mental issues and to build genuine relationships with others.
Selena Gomez offers a touching and exposing look at her struggles with lupus and bipolar disorder. The documentary reminds us that celebrities aren’t always the happy-go-lucky smiling people we see on the stage and screen, but they also struggle with their own personal issues. At one point, Gomez reveals that she doesn’t enjoy being famous, but she knows that she wants to use her celebrity position in order to help others.
We see a couple ways she pursues that desire in the documentary. Gomez talks about struggling against feelings of depression and loneliness at a McLean Hospital’s 2019 banquet focused on mental health care. She also spends time volunteering in Kenya with a charity there.
The actress and singer often feels as if she does interviews about things that don’t truly matter. Instead, she says that she wants to build genuine connections with people in order to help them through their problems. Gomez explains to one interviewer that her dream one day is to focus on philanthropic work.
Gomez additionally recounts how her parents have consistently supported her despite the moments when she would lash out at them.
Gomez tells a girl that she believes in God. We see Gomez pray with her team before a performance. She tells another person that she’d be praying for them. We see a cross on a wall.
Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” plays during a rehearsal.
While discussing her costumes, Gomez talks about different parts of her anatomy, including intimate ones.
Many of Gomez’ costumes are tight and revealing, and other people are seen in revealing outfits, too. During a performance of Gomez’s song “Me & the Rhythm,” we see her grind on a shirtless male dancer. We hear the lyrics of the song, “Everybody wants to be touched/Everybody wants to get some/But don’t you play a song about love/When I move my body.”
At another moment, we see Gomez naked in a bath; though critical bits are covered, we see cleavage. We also later see that Gomez is obviously going braless beneath her shirt.
Various people discuss the most difficult moments of their lives, dialogue that includes references to considering or attempting suicide.
The f-word is used 10 times, and the s-word is used twice, which is the main content here that pushes this document into R-rated territory. We also hear a couple instances of “a–,” “p-ss” and “h—.” God’s name is used in vain five times.
We hear references of a rumored drug problem, and we hear references to alcohol. We’re told of a spot from Gomez’s childhood where someone would sell drugs from a vehicle. Gomez additionally takes prescription medication and medical treatment.
We listen to a portion of Gomez’s song, “Sober,” which references drinking.
Paparazzi harass Gomez about a past relationship. A charity comes under fire for its close ties to the president of a country after said country provided the charity with a contract.
“I have to stop living like this. Why have I become so far from the light? Everything I ever wished for… I’ve had and done all of it. But it has killed me, because there’s always Selena.”
Selena Gomez’s testimony about herself at the outset of this documentary set the confessional stage for the next hour and a half. From her first acting career at age seven on Barney & Friends to the release of her 2020 album Rare, Gomez has learned an important, but hard Ecclesiastes-like truth: the world cannot satisfy.
The nature of her story is sharp and realistic as we dive into Gomez’s mental struggles amid her celebrity status—and the content is similarly a bit jarring. Most prominently, the documentary features multiple uses of the f-word (hence the film’s R rating), and we hear and see various sensual and sensitive subjects that may not be appropriate for younger audiences or Selena fans.
Gomez warns us that the world’s definition of success cannot satisfy us. Sure, she’s had the money, the fame, the status—all of it. But none of those worldly trappings have stopped her from feeling alone. In fact, she suggests those things have only amplified her sense of isolation. Because while fame gave her every material thing, it also starved her of a genuine connection with others.
“Eventually, after doing this for so long, I started to feel vain,” Gomez tells us. “It made me feel lonely somehow. And then when I started touring, it just got worse.”
It’s a hard truth that Gomez has learned over the course of her career—one made worse with the revelation of a bipolar disorder and her continual fight against lupus. But as we travel with Gomez over the six-year span of Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, we’ll watch as she admits to not having it all put together—and her journey to become OK with that.
Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”