Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress, singer, and fashion designer. She is known for portraying Alex Russo, the protagonist in the Emmy Award-winning television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She subsequently ventured into feature films and has starred in the television movies Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and Princess Protection Program. She made her starring theatrical film debut in Ramona and Beezus.
Her career has expanded into the music industry; Gomez is the lead singer and founder of the pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene, which has released three RIAA Gold certified studio albums, Kiss & Tell, A Year Without Rain, and When the Sun Goes Down, spawned three RIAA Platinum certified singles, "Naturally", "Who Says" and "Love You Like a Love Song" and charted four No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs. Gomez has also contributed to the soundtracks of Tinker Bell, Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Shake It Up after signing a record deal with Hollywood Records.
In 2008, Gomez was designated as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas. She is the daughter of former stage actress Amanda Dawn "Mandy" Teefey (née Cornett) and Ricardo Joel Gomez. Her father is of Mexican ancestry; her mother, who was adopted, is of Italian descent. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has stated: "My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything that's Catholic, but we don't really have anything traditional except [that we] go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church." Her birth parents divorced when she was five years old, and she was raised as an only child by her working mother. In 2006, Mandy remarried Brian Teefey. She was named after Tejano singer Selena, who died almost three years after Gomez was born. In a 2009 interview with People, Gomez mentioned that she developed an early interest in acting from watching her mother prepare for and act in theater productions. She earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010. Gomez began her acting career at age seven, playing Gianna on Barney & Friends. She later had minor roles in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and the TV film Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire. Gomez also starred in the television movie Brain Zapped.
In 2004, Gomez was discovered by the Disney Channel in a USA-wide scouting. Gomez appeared as a guest star on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and had a guest appearance – that later turned into a recurring role – on Hannah Montana from seasons two to three. Gomez previously taped two different pilots that were spin-offs to two previous Disney series. The first one, What's Stevie Thinking?, was the spin-off to Lizzie McGuire. Gomez played Stevie Sanchez, Miranda Sanchez's little sister. The other show was titled Arwin!, the spin-off to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, in which she played Alexa. Neither series was picked up.
In early 2007, Gomez was cast in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place as one of the three main characters, Alex Russo. The show premiered to an audience of 5.9 million, becoming a hit. Many news outlets began dubbing Gomez the next 'Miley Cyrus' causing some controversy and a reported 'feud'. Gomez clarified that there was no feud and that she was flattered by the comparison, saying: "It's a little overwhelming, but I think really, it's a compliment. She's obviously extremely successful, and I think she's a wonderful performer ... So being compared to her, I was very, very flattered." Gomez recorded four songs, one of which was a cover, for the Wizards of Waverly Place soundtrack, only one single ("Magic") from the album was released. In 2008, Gomez recorded a cover of "Cruella de Vil"—which included a music video—for the compilation album DisneyMania 6. Gomez also recorded "Fly to Your Heart" for the 2008 animated film Tinker Bell. In July 2008, before Gomez' sixteenth birthday, she signed a recording deal with Hollywood Records, a music label owned by Disney. In May, of the same year, Gomez was featured, with Forever the Sickest Kids, on a duet version of the non-album song "Whoa Oh!". The same year Gomez appeared in Another Cinderella Story, the direct-to-DVD sequel to the 2004 Hilary Duff film, opposite Drew Seeley. She also had a minor voiceover role as one the Mayor's ninety-six daughters in Horton Hears a Who! which released in March of that year. In April, Lacey Rose, of Forbes ranked Gomez as being fifth on their "Eight Hot Kid Stars To Watch" list; and Rose described Gomez as having been "a multi-talented teen".
In 2009, Gomez formed the teen pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene. Kiss & Tell, the band's debut studio album was released on September 29, 2009 by Hollywood Records. On March 5, 2010, the album was certified Gold by RIAA. The album's single, "Naturally", was certified Platinum by the RIAA on July 15, 2010. In February 2009, Gomez signed on to star as one of the two female leads in Ramona and Beezus, a film adaption of the children's novel series by Beverly Cleary. Gomez stated that she felt no pressure in taking more adult roles: "I think I'm fully aware of my audience and I'm still just a kid myself. I wouldn't do a role I don't feel comfortable doing or that my audience wouldn't feel comfortable seeing."
She also began dating actor Taylor Lautner, whom she met in Vancouver, while filming Ramona and Beezus and while he was shooting New Moon, and the two dated for a few months. However, the pressure of the media became too much for them and caused the two to break-up.
In June 2009, Gomez did a guest appearance as herself in one episode of best friend Demi Lovato's Disney Channel television show, Sonny with a Chance, entitled "Battle of The Network Stars". That same month, Gomez appeared alongside Lovato in the made-for-television Disney Channel movie, Princess Protection Program. The telecast garnered 8.5 million viewers becoming, at the time, the third most watched Disney Channel Original Movie. One month later, Gomez, along with two cast members of Wizards of Waverly Place appeared in a television three-way cross-over episode with Hannah Montana and The Suite Life on Deck, entitled Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana.
On August 28, 2009, two months after appearing in Princess Protection Program, Gomez starred in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, a made-for-television film based on the show. The film premiered to an audience of 11.4 million viewers becoming cable's No. 1 scripted telecast of 2009 and Disney Channel's second most-viewed film premiere after High School Musical 2. In September 2009, Wizards of Waverly Place won "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards., and in 2010, the film adaptation won the series its second consecutive Emmy for "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Gomez's first theatrical film Ramona & Beezus premiered on July 23, 2010 and met with generally positive reviews. In March 2010, Variety reported that Gomez was set to star as one of the three lead roles in Monte Carlo, a film produced by Nicole Kidman, alongside Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy. In the film, Gomez plays Grace, a girl who's “mistaken for a socialite while on a trip to Paris.” To prepare for the role, Gomez learned how to play polo and also took two weeks of vocal training to learn two different British accents. The same year Gomez confirmed that the fourth season of her hit Disney Channel show, Wizards of Waverly Place, would be its last.
On September 17, 2010, Selena Gomez & The Scene released their second studio album, A Year Without Rain The record debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 4, selling 66,000 copies. On January 19, 2011, the album was certified Gold by RIAA. As of April 2011, the band has sold 1,354,000 albums in the United States. To support the album, the band embarked on the mini-tour A Year Without Rain Tour. In February 2011, TV Guide reported that Gomez would make a cameo in the Muppets film.
On March 23, 2011, Hollywood Records announced through a press release that Selena Gomez & The Scene would be embarking on their third concert tour in the United States, the We Own the Night Tour ran during the summer of 2011 and was ranked 18th in Pollstar's Top 20 concert tours. Production for the final season of Wizards of Waverly Place came to a wrap on May 14, 2011. Gomez co-hosted the 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards on June 19. She also hosted the 2011 MTV EMAs on November 6, 2011, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she performed her band's single "Hit the Lights". On June 28, 2011, Selena Gomez & The Scene released their third studio album, When the Sun Goes Down, previously titled Otherside. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 78,000 copies its first week and the following week, the album rose to number 3 on the Billboard chart, becoming the band's highest charting album to date. On November 17, 2011, the album was certified platinum. The album's lead single, "Who Says" was certified Platinum by RIAA on June 23, 2011 and has become the band's highest charting song on the Billboard Hot 100 to date, peaking at number 21. The second single, "Love You Like a Love Song", was certified Platinum by RIAA on December 2, 2011, and became the act's first to sell over two-million copies.
In January 2012, Gomez announced that she would put her music career on hold in order to focus on her acting career, and that the band would be taking a hiatus: "my band and I are going our separate ways for a while. This year is all about films and acting and I want my band to play music wherever with whoever. We will be back but, it will be a good while."
As of August 2012, Gomez has been cast in a number of films. She first appeared in Hotel Transylvania, an animated film, voicing the character of Mavis, alongside Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi. The film premiered at the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival and was released on September 21, 2012. Next, Gomez will appear in the Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers alongside James Franco. The film is premiering at the 69th Venice International Film Festival and is scheduled to be released sometime in spring 2013. In addition, Gomez filmed a cameo for Aftershock, an upcoming thriller starring Eli Roth which premiered at the 37th Annual Toronto International Film Festival. On April 7, 2012, Gomez posted a video for fans in which she revealed that she would be filming a new movie called Getaway in Bulgaria with Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight. The film wrapped up in May and is scheduled to be released in 2013. Gomez was considered for the role of Carrie in the remake of the 1976 horror film Carrie, although she never auditioned. The role eventually went to Chloë Grace Moretz. Next, Gomez ill star in the film adaptation of the Ric Browde novel While I'm Dead... Feed the Dog opposite Dylan McDermott and Nat Wolff. The film, entitled Behaving Bad, will be directed by Tim Garrick. Gomez will also reprise her role as Alex Russo in a one-hour special entitled The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, which began production on October 22, 2012, and finished filming on November 10, 2012. It will air on Disney Channel on March 13, 2013 at 8/7pm Central.
MTV News reported, via Twitter, that Gomez is releasing a single, "Better Without You", on March 18, 2013. Gomez and Taylor Swift wrote the song together.
HitFix reported, that Gomez is releasing a single, "Come and Get It", in April, 2013 and had not worked with Taylor Swift.