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Why Selena Gomez Was Destined To Be An Actress, According To Her Mom

Remember when Sel and Demi Lovato were on ‘Barney & Friends’?

Selena Gomez took her career dreams seriously from the very start. In a new interview with the New York Times, Gomez and her mom, Mandy Teefey, reminisce about her childhood pre–Disney Channel.

"She was 6 or 7. I thought I wanted to be an actor," Teffey shared. "She went to one of my rehearsals with me and sat through the whole thing, not moving. On the way home, she was quiet, and then she goes, 'You know, Mom, that might be funnier if you did it this way.' And I thought, Oh, no. She’s going to be an actor."

Sel's constructive feedback didn't stop at just her mom, however. "I'm surprised she actually had friends. She used to make the kids in the neighborhood do casting calls and try to direct them."

Sure enough, her first professional acting gig came at age 7: Barney & Friends, where she first met Demi Lovato, her future Princess Protection Program costar. Please enjoy this throwback photo of the duo in goat costumes:

At age 12, Gomez was cast in Wizards of Waverly Place and, well, you know the rest. "I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel," Sel said.

"I could do any tomboy/teen princess movie in the world if I wanted to," she continued. "I could do those for years. But I want to be a part of projects that have value, that really matter."

13 Reasons Why, Netflix's upcoming TV adaptation of Jay Asher's young adult novel of the same name, is one of those projects. The powerful series, which tackles complicated topics like teen suicide and bullying, premieres March 31. Gomez and Teefey serve as coproducers, staying behind the scenes to keep the characters' story "credible."

"Sometimes I feel defeated. I’ll audition for a part that I feel very passionate about, meet with people, tell them I’m willing to go places," Gomez explained. "I think I look really young and image-wise, it’s difficult for people to grasp. But early on, my mom taught me that sometimes you just have to create those projects for yourself. That’s what I want this to be: a launching pad."