Selena Gomez felt like she 'wasn't pretty enough' in her youth: 'The older I got, the more I evolved'

Selena Gomez is all grown up.

The multi-hyphenated artist, beauty mogul and mental health advocate is jumping into 2022 with a new sense of purpose — and she’s bringing her fans along on the journey.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Rare Beauty founder and creator Selena Gomez visits Sephora Times Square on November 04, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Rare Beauty)
Rare Beauty founder and creator Selena Gomez is planning on helping future generations learn about mental health by bravely sharing her own story. (Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Rare Beauty)

In a new interview with InStyle magazine, Gomez opens up about how giving up social media helped curb her depression and anxiety as well as her future plans to make the world a better place by continuing to challenge stigmas around mental health.

“I became aware that my little world is complicated, but the picture is much bigger than the stuff I deal with,” Gomez said of the past two years. “I have problems with depression and anxiety, and I found it difficult for me to be me. I didn't want to post anything on social media because I realized that I was in a situation where I was extremely blessed. What could I possibly post or say?”

Gomez, one of the most followed women on Instagram, added that at one point the platform “became my whole world,” which put her in a “really dangerous” situation.

“In my early 20s, I felt like I wasn't pretty enough,” explained Gomez, adding that her insecurities began when she started acting as a child. “At the age of 7 I was already working and in the hair and makeup chair,” she said. “Even then I noticed certain [beauty] trends and how I didn't match them.”

“There was a whole period in my life when I thought I needed makeup and never wanted to be seen without it,” she continued. “The older I got, the more I evolved and realized that I needed to take control of what I was feeling. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and feel confident to be who I am. Taking a break from social media was the best decision that I've ever made for my mental health.

"I created a system where I still don't have my passwords," she explained. "And the unnecessary hate and comparisons went away once I put my phone down. I'll have moments where that weird feeling will come back, but now I have a much better relationship with myself.”

Giving up her social media gave the singer more time to focus on therapy, which helped her set healthier boundaries.

“I’m a big believer in therapy, and I always feel so confident when I'm taking care of myself,” she said. “If I'm not in the best headspace and my friends invite me out, I won't go. I've lost my sense of FOMO, which I'm proud of. Sometimes I push myself too much, and it catches up to me. But I try to balance out everything as best as I can. I like to be there for my friends and celebrate everyone. But I have to make sure that I'm OK, you know? Because if I'm not OK, I can't be OK for other people.”

As for the future, Gomez says she wants to help her fans — especially young people — realize their own potential.

“Changing the narrative of mental health and creating a curriculum that hopefully can be implemented in schools or a system for resources that are easily available,” said Gomez, whose Mental Health 101 initiative is proudly displayed on Rare Beauty’s website.

“I’m just so passionate about that, and I think I will continue to be for the rest of my life,” she added. “Especially since the pandemic, there are so many people I know who craved help but had no idea how to get it. I have big aspirations for that field and really want to implement more education behind it.”

Of course, Gomez has never been shy about being vulnerable with her fans, especially over the last few years when she’s faced several issues relating to her physical health — including a battle with lupus, a kidney transplant and revealing to Miley Cyrus last year that she’s living with bipolar disorder.

"I know firsthand how scary and lonely it can feel to face anxiety and depression by yourself at a young age," she wrote on Instagram upon the launch of her Mental Health 101 initiative. "If I had learned about my mental health earlier on — been taught about my condition in school the way I was taught about other subjects — my journey could have looked very different."

"For anyone who is hurting right now, I hope you know that you are not alone," Gomez continued. "I’m a believer in seeking help. Getting support and educating myself on mental health has changed my life, and it can change yours, too."

She continued, "I hope that Mental Health 101 will be the stepping stones for others that I wish I had… to get connected to the resources they need, and to empower young people in ways that may not have been possible before. I hope you’ll join me in supporting this initiative and being part of the change."