’13 Reasons Why’: Selena Gomez Dishes On Originally Being Cast As Hannah Baker

13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s new breakout series, might have been very different if it had gone originally as planned. Back in 2011, when the book was optioned by Universal Pictures, Selena Gomez was originally cast to play the role of the ill-fated Hannah Baker and not Katherine Langford.

Selena Gomez originally bought the rights to the book 13 Reasons Why several years ago, and ever since then, it has been a passion project for her and her mother, Mandy Teefey. The pair, however, ultimately decided to pass on putting Gomez in the limelight and let her stay behind the camera.

But that doesn’t mean Selena didn’t share a special connection to 13 Reasons Why‘s main character.

“I see myself as Hannah so much. I wanted it to feel like anyone can see themselves in this,” she said.

Selena also elaborated in some of her reasons to stay behind 13 Reasons Why’s cameras in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“A book is frightening for me because I know the cult following it has, which is the reason why I didn’t want to be in it. Originally, my mom and I found the project because I wanted it to be a transition piece. From that point on, a lot of people wanted to make it something that it wasn’t. It can teeter on the line of being a little too preachy. Jay [the book’s author] knew that my mom and I would be behind it for years, no matter how long it took to take it to that place,” she said.

Without Selena tied to 13 Reasons Why as the main character, she stated on her Instagram that it took her six years to find the perfect Hannah and Clay. However, she feels that she was incredibly successful in casting Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette and is very grateful for their involvement.

And with the buzz around the show, it seems fans couldn’t agree more. 13 Reasons Why broke Twitter records with 3.4 million tweets about it, and Kylie Jenner herself has stated that she’s a huge fan of the series.

Selena Gomez continued on in her interview with the Hollywood Reporter stating how exactly she saw herself as the 13 Reasons Why’s tragic heroine.

“The older I get the more insecure I get, which is odd. But that’s something a lot of people can relate to. Her personality is a quiet strength. I’ve never really been the one to be in anyone’s face. A lot of girls feel like they have to be a certain way for attention. Social media has amplified all of that. I get that she didn’t want that to be what her life was,” she said.

Selena is no stranger to criticism on the internet. As one of the most followed stars on Instagram, she deals with daily backlash and hatred. Additionally, not so long ago, she experienced body shaming by the press for gaining a few pounds during her treatment for lupus SLE, as is common for many people. She even reported that someone saw her at the airport and called her fat to her face.

But because this project was so important for Selena and her mother, the pair made sure the cast and crew were comfortable during the whole experience and often sent off emails and well wishes. She wasn’t on set the entire time, but she did make a few appearances.

She has even made friends with 13 Reasons Why stars Tommy Dorfman (Ryan) and Alisha Boe (Jessica) and got matching tattoos with the pair.

13 Reasons Why’s actual Hannah Baker described Selena as giving and generous and a down to earth girl, despite her fame.

[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images]