The musical star and actress talks about her many serious, personal challenges in a documentary directed by Alek Keshishian, now streaming on Apple TV+.
Born and raised in Grand Prairie until she was seven, Selena Gomez became an instant star on Disney, which meant that she moved to Hollywood as a child and came of age under the magnifying glass of ever-increasing fame.
Some seven years ago, Alek Keshishian, (Madonna: Truth or Dare, 1991) helmed a music video for Gomez. Shortly thereafter, Gomez began experiencing crisis-level personal problems that threatened to derail her career. As documented in Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, her eventual diagnosis for lupus and its effect upon mental health struggles she was already experiencing distinguish her troubles from those self-inflicted wounds that have plagued many, many other young stars over the years.
Gomez’ honesty also marks the documentary as different from other confessionals, although the film as a whole makes me wonder if anyone connected to a young, rising star ever stops to watch any of them. If so, I’d think they would question whether they can afford the price of fame and its attendant disastrous consequences, which are too frequently fatal.
As those of us who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex know, Grand Prairie is a lovely community, with a large portion of the residents being Hispanic/Latino. Gomez, whose return to the city is showcased in the film, never appears to stay far from her roots; her genuine engagement with friends and former neighbors, and her desire to give back by visiting young school students, is genuinely touching.
So is her willingness to discuss her mental health struggles, exacerbated, it seems, by her diagnosis with the serious condition of lupus. None of these struggles are over for her; she will have to deal with them for the remainder of her life, so her struggle will never entirely cease. It’s more a matter of coping with these gigantic challenges.
Of course, she could end her musical and performing career any time she wishes to do so, but says in the film that she feels that her entertainment talents have gifted her with an enlarged opportunity to help others. Keshishian keeps the pace moving at a brisk pace, so that even if you’re not necessarily a fan of Gomez’ music or other work, the documentary works effectively, in large part because of its emotional intimacy.
The film is now streaming on Apple TV+.