It’s easy to see why Justin Bieber loves Selena Gomez. And if the 21-year-old ever decides to give up singing and acting, a career in motivational speaking surely awaits her.
Gomez delivered an inspirational and emotional eight minute speech to thousands of kids at the first annual We Day California event on Wednesday that aims to empower young people to take action at a local and global level.
Sharing her personal story of how she learned to deal with the pressure of staying true to herself in a competitive fame game known for eating its young, Selena’s overriding message to the impressionable crowd at Oakland’s Oracle Arena was to “remain who you are” and to “trust” themselves.
Given that most of the youngsters attending the Free the Children charity group-organized event probably look up to the actress-singer they watched grow since her Disney days, the impact of Gomez’s revealing testimonial may be more far-reaching than even she knows.
“I am not an activist. I haven’t changed the world or led a campaign,” Selena began.
She added, “I’m here to just tell you my path so that you can hopefully take something away from it because I don’t like being honest with press and interviews. I like being honest with you directly.”
After expressing gratitude to her mother who gave birth to her at 16 and worked four jobs to make Gomez’s life “better,” the Latina said she wanted to be an actress since the age of 7.
With emotion, she recalled: “When I was 11, I had a casting director tell me I wasn’t strong enough to carry my own show. It does more than knock the wind out of you, it crushes you when people try to tell you you’re not good enough.”
Gomez told the audience that after the failed casting session her mother told her, “The most important thing is to always trust in myself. If I’m doing something because I love it I should do it because I love it and because I believe I can do it.”
Selena went on to add she got her own show at 13.
Although Gomez didn’t specifically mention her Stars Dance Tour — which she pulled out of last December, or her two week stint in an Arizona rehab facility — she went on to talk about the pressures of being a young performer and possibly shed light on why she withdrew from the spotlight at the start of the year.
Revealingly, she admitted, “I’m surrounded by people who are supposed to guide me and some of them have and others haven’t.”
“They pressure me; there’s so much pressure: ‘You gotta be sexy; you gotta be cute; you gotta be nice.’ You gotta be all these things,” Gomez shared.
(Photo: Gomez Instagram, captioned, “#Weday -unbelievable time. So inspired and hopefully encouraged many!!”)
Bringing her talk round to the kids she was there to inspire, Gomez continued:
“I’m sure you can all relate. You have all this pressure that you have to deal with everyday,” tearfully adding,”Until recently, I had given in to that pressure, I lost sight of who I was.”
Elaborating,”I listened to opinions of people, and I try to change who I am because I thought others would accept me for it and I realized I don’t know how to be anything but myself.”
Urging the young listeners to “remain who you are,” Gomez ended her speech saying she has learned from her mistakes and actions..
Encouraging the kids to choose their friends carefully because “you are who you surround yourself with,” she told them to “stay true to yourself,” before finally praising the cheering kids for their efforts so far.
“And all I really want you to know is that you are changing the world; I’m not changing the world, you’re changing the world, and that’s amazing,” Gomez said. “Please just be kind to each other and love and inspire people, because let’s do it, let’s change the game.”
In a positive and powerful message that above all attempted to show the kids she identified with them, from the stunning reception she received it’s likely Selena touched more than a few young hearts and minds at We Day.