Selena Gomez is opening up about the pressure she's faced as a young woman in the entertainment industry. The 28-year-old singer covers the October issue of Allure, and reveals how her star-turning role on Wizards of Waverly Place affected her day-to-day life.
"My personal life was out everywhere," she recalls of her time on the wildly popular Disney Channel show, which ran from 2007 to 2012. "It felt very claustrophobic and... I felt very trapped."
Everything from her dating life to weight was fodder for the media, something Gomez says was "just unfair for someone to handle."
After Wizards came to an end, Gomez turned her focus to music, releasing Stars Dance in 2013 and Revival in 2015. On the latter album, Gomez admits she felt a demand to be overtly sexual in some of her music videos.
"There was pressure to seem more adult on my album, Revival," she says. "[I felt] the need to show skin... I really don't think I was [that] person."
Despite the downfalls of fame that came with her Disney stardom, Gomez is grateful for how she got her start.
"I was extremely blessed to get picked out of Texas and chosen to become a part of one of the biggest machines in the world -- it was my high school," she says. "I think the female characters on Disney Channel have a lot of strength. And my comedic timing, my improv skills, everything I experienced made me a better actress."
While she's learned to live with the public interest in her personal life in recent years, Gomez still takes steps to control what she sees, including withstanding from Googling herself.
"I haven't done that in years. I honestly can't," she says. "I'm strong in a lot of ways, but I think I just have way too much of a sensitive heart."
Even while taking certain precautions on social media, when Gomez uses her platform it's for the sake of a cause, usually mental health. Gomez revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder back in April.
"I have always had so many different emotions and I didn't know how to control them quite well. It was complicated. But I think I'm happy to understand it," she says. "Once I did find out more about who I was, I was proud. I also felt comfortable knowing that I wasn't alone, and I was going to get through it. So I will always be passionate about that. It's something I will continue to talk about."
Gomez's self-assured nature is a product of many years in the spotlight and an impressive slate of projects to match. She's a producer, an actress, a singer, a philanthropist, a home chef and more. But above all is the control Gomez now feels she maintains over everything in both her personal and professional lives.
"I am in full control of my life and everything that I do, what is out there, everything," she says. "So I would like to say, yes. I'm in charge of everything in my life."