Selena Gomez is looking gorgeous on the cover of April's Vogue, and the feature that accompanies it is one of her most revealing yet. Considering how open she is with her fans and how up-front she's been about her mental-health struggles, that's saying a lot — and that's exactly what this feature does, as Gomez is totally candid about the pressures she felt as a performer.
Her concerts, especially, became a point of stress and were starting to take a heavy toll on her happiness. "Tours are a really lonely place for me," she told Vogue. "My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it — which, I think, was a complete distortion."
The change in her fan base played a part in her touring anxiety, too. Gomez came up in the business, and she grew up alongside her fans. That meant she was maturing under the spotlight, but the crowds turning up to see her sing were getting older too, and the pressure to make her live show relatable and intriguing for her fans was a lot to deal with.
"I was so used to performing for kids," she continued. "At concerts I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough. Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t say, 'Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!' It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same shit they’re dealing with. What I wanted to say is that life is so stressful, and I get the desire to just escape it. But I wasn’t figuring my own stuff out, so I felt I had no wisdom to share. And so maybe I thought everybody out there was thinking, This is a waste of time."
Gomez is still figuring out this whole fame thing, even though she's got a lifetime of experience at this point. "It’s weird," she adds, "to get up onstage and have everybody know where you were last night."
Indeed — but props to Selena for being totally filter-free when it comes to talking through the tough stuff.