An art piece of Selena Gomez, framed with dandelions, in front of the Vogue magazine logo. (Illustration by Peyton Stark, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

Selena Gomez Is Encouraging ‘Amor Propio’ in Her Work and Lifestyle

Through her music and her new Rare Beauty makeup line, this beloved singer and actress has repeatedly made a positive impact on her community.

June 20, 2021
11 mins read

Selena Gomez’s heart wants what it wants, and what it wanted in a recent Vogue interview was to take a trip down memory lane and revisit her most iconic and embarrassing fashion moments from 2007 to now.

The singer and actress broke down 15 different moments in her fashion history in the 20th episode of Vogue’s “Life in Looks” series, in which celebrities comment on their various fashion statements from over the years. The almost 12-minute video features Gomez flipping through a book filled with pictures of her style choices, ranging from her teenage to 28-year-old self.

“Oh, it’s bad,” says Gomez after glancing at the first look: an outfit consisting of stiletto boots and skinny jeans that she wore to a 2007 ABC All-Star Party. “At that age, I did dress myself and did my own hair and makeup, which you can tell.” 

Despite her embarrassment over certain teenage style choices, Gomez cherished other moments, such as the 2013 Versace gown that she wore to the VMAs. The dark blue skintight dress features a thigh-high slit and peels away at the top to reveal an embroidered bustier. According to Gomez, wearing the gown was the first time that she felt “like a woman.”  

Gomez got personal about her body image when she reviewed the Vera Wang gown that she wore to the 2015 Met Gala. Because she “fluctuates a lot with [her] weight,” Gomez says that she didn’t “feel good about [her] body” that night. 

Since 2015, when Gomez revealed her ongoing fight with a chronic autoimmune disease known as lupus to the public, she’s been open about her physical and mental health struggles in coping with the disease. Her particular case of lupus is so critical that she underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. The medication Gomez takes to mitigate lupus often causes fluctuation in her weight. 

Amid her struggle with lupus, Gomez has received shameful comments about her appearance on social media from ignorant viewers. In a 2015 interview on “The Cruz Show” to promote her “Revival” album, she expressed how these body-shaming comments about her weight were “really hurtful.” However, Gomez was determined to not let these comments “get to [her]” and affirmed that she “can do what [she] wants.”

Despite her struggles, Gomez has played a big part in nullifying hurtful comments about not only a person’s appearance, but also that person’s worth overall. Her goal of uplifting individuals who have suffered from anxiety or depression as a result of online bullying compels other influential figures to do the same. 

Through her music, Gomez makes an impact by reinforcing encouraging statements of self-worth and social validation. Her most recent album, “Revelación,” released on March 12, is her first Spanish-language EP. Although a full Spanish album was a first for Gomez, the sincere messages of love, loss and self-respect were everything extraordinary but nothing new. 

In the chorus of the track “Buscando Amor,” Gomez sings, “No están buscando na’, ‘tán bien así como están / Que no le hablen de amor que eso con ella no va.” The lyrics translate to, “They aren’t looking for anything, they’re good how they are / Don’t talk to her about love, that’s not going to fly.”

A popular theme in Gomez’s music is the encouragement to love yourself. By illustrating a woman who is focused on having the time of her life at a party rather than worrying about the ups and downs of a new relationship, Gomez inspires everyone to focus on building themselves up and to do what makes them happy. According to Gomez, the best kind of “amor” to be searching for is “amor propio” — self-love. 

Gomez’s previous album release in January 2020 was her third solo studio album, which is titled “Rare.” In March 2020, Gomez expressed on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” that this was her chance to “say all the things that [she] wanted to say… which was talking about relationships, and talking about difficult times, or being vulnerable, or being stuck in your head.” 

On the title track, “Rare,” her delicate yet passionate way with words empowers a woman who deserves better treatment. In the lyrics, Gomez criticizes a significant other and sings in the chorus, “It feels like you don’t care / Why don’t you recognize I’m so rare?” She explores a difficult situation that many individuals in failing relationships can relate to; more significantly, she also brings awareness to the importance of self-respect and the consequences of negating one’s own uniqueness. 

From her “Who Says?” days to 2021, Gomez has preached the importance of appreciating oneself and recognizing one’s “rare” and unique qualities. Despite having repeatedly endured harsh criticism for her fluctuating weight, Selena Gomez has blossomed into a positive inspiration to all by sharing her own struggles and helping others cope with similar battles through her music.

“I think that we came together and built something really beautiful and something that fit me really well,” continued Gomez on her 2015 Met Gala look. “That was one of the moments where I was like, I don’t have to be that 19-year-old body shape anymore, because I’m not.” 

Gomez has also reached out to the community through Rare Beauty. Her makeup line, launched in September 2020, aimed to break down unrealistic beauty standards. Under the About Us page on the Rare Beauty website, Gomez’s team wrote that the makeup is made to “feel good in, without hiding what makes you unique — because Rare Beauty is not about being someone else but being who you are.”

The motivational heart at the core of the Rare Beauty makeup line perfectly represents everything that Gomez stands for, including embracing who you are and persevering beyond life’s occasional roadblocks. This inclusive brand celebrates the differences that make us special and invites everyone to connect to one another despite societal beauty standards.

Gomez has also recently introduced Rare Impact Fund: Mental Health 101, in which anyone can sign a petition to support mental health services in schools. Individuals can also donate to the Rare Impact Fund, a significant part of Gomez and her Rare Beauty team’s commitment to raising awareness for mental health and chronic loneliness. Although Gomez has expressed that managing her own mental health “hasn’t always been easy,” it’s something that she is “constantly working on” and hopes “can help others too.” 

In addressing her own personal physical and mental challenges, Gomez simultaneously raises awareness for those in the world who go through similar situations as her. Despite her place in the spotlight and multimillionaire status, Gomez doesn’t detach herself from the rest of society. Rather, she reaches out and lends a helping hand to those in need. 

As the embodiment of growth and influence, Gomez has made an extraordinary impact on her community. Her vulnerability regarding personal issues and diligent efforts to diminish the stigma behind mental health encourages everyone to love themselves for who they are and to cherish their one-of-a-kind value. 

In the middle of her Vogue “Life in Looks” interview, Gomez reviewed the red Prada gown she wore to the 2016 American Music Awards. “Once I put the dress on, I was ready to be me. I’m ready to step into this world and reclaim my name.” That same night five years ago, Gomez won the AMA award for Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist. In her acceptance speech, her inspirational words were exemplary of the many aspirations she has for the community:

“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken, and if that’s anything whether you respect me or not, that’s one thing you should know about me. I care about people.”

Michelle Buckley, Chapman University

Writer Profile

Michelle Buckley

Chapman University
B.F.A. Creative Writing

Michelle Buckley is a rising sophomore at Chapman University and majors in creative writing. Driven by self-expression and motivation to build a community, Buckley hopes to make an impact with her passion for writing.

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