Talk about a crossroads: Selena Gomez is going through a transition in every element of her superstar life. For music, she insists her newest, most revealing album Stars Dance, already boasting the hit single ‘Come and Get It,’ the video for which just debuted on MTV.com, will be her last. For acting, she’s eager to shake her Disney past and establish herself as an actress with serious cred.
And in love, despite a Bieber breakup ballad on her record, the pair are indeed back together, and seem to be tighter than ever (as this photo shows). Now, she’s opening up and not holding anything back about her exciting life changes in InStyle’s June magazine.
Here are five things you’ll learn in the new issue on newsstands May 17. Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from the Selena Gomez cover story, ‘Gear Shift’ by Laurie Sandall, which originally appears in InStyle’s June 2013 issue.
1. HER #1 PRIORITY AT THIS MOMENT: PUSHING BOUNDARIES Just shy of her 21st birthday (on July 22), Gomez is actively stirring the pot a little as she seeks bold life and career changes. ‘This is a weird transition for me,’ she says. ‘I want to keep pushing myself so I never feel settled. I don’t really know if it’s going to end up working. I’m stressed out most of the time.’
Gomez would like to eventually say so long to music to concentrate solely on acting. She imagines a career modeled on stars like Shia LaBeouf, Jennifer Lawrence & Natalie Portman, actors who are continually reinventing themselves, she says. (LaBeouf, she is quick to point out, also started on Disney Channel. Gomez starred for five years on megahit series Wizards of Waverly Place.)
2. HER ALBUM INCLUDES A SONG ABOUT BIEBER. YES, IT’S TRUE.
“Love Will Remember,” a song off her new album, Stars Dance, will have every one of her followers obsessively analyzing the lyrics, thanks to her tabloid-scrutinized split from pop-superstar boyfriend Justin Bieber at the end of last year. Especially now that the duo was reportedly spotted kissing in Norway in April, right around the time that Bieber posted then quickly removed a shot of himself with Gomez on Instagram. The ballad mournfully chronicles the end of a relationship, and Gomez makes it crystal clear that she did indeed write it about Bieber. As she sings, pondering what went wrong, the listener is left with the sense that it may not have been her idea to end things—or that it might have been hers, but it was because he left her no choice. “That’s the most personal track on the record, for sure,” she says. “I think it’s a sweet way of releasing it. It’s not an aggressive approach to what people are probably expecting.” She pauses, then quietly adds, “I’m sure he’ll love it too.” The song is both heartfelt and calculated, an unquestionably provocative move by the star.
3. WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO DATE IN THE SPOTLIGHT
“I’m from Texas, so I should be married with children already,” she says with a smile. “I’m in love with love and totally believe in marriage, but that’s not even on my radar right now. I am not putting energy into dating.” And who can blame her? Going out with Bieber, who, at 19, is one of the biggest stars in the world, was “crazy and very intense,” she says. Splitting up was even harder, and their recent potential rekindling once again ratchets up the pressure. “It’s uncomfortable that everywhere I go, people know,” she says. “I don’t like that. But Justin and I never really focused on the attention. You can’t help who you date. So I wouldn’t swear off that or say that’s what I want again. I don’t know. I’m a kid, and a breakup is normal. I have to go through the emotions and feel it out. I’m doing my own thing, being with my friends, and he’s doing very well too.” When asked what she’ll look for in a future partner, she’s quick to respond. “Honesty. You have to have honesty when you’re living this lifestyle because of the distance imposed when working—you are separated so often. You have to be super-honest and open. That is key.”
4. HER FRIENDS ARE AWESOME, LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT
She’s close to Taylor Swift, who she says is “like a sister to me. We dated the Jonas Brothers at the same time and ended up becoming best friends. She’s the one I call when I’m having any sort of sadness. She’s very nurturing and protective.” Swift is proud of the way her pal has navigated triumphs and trouble spots alike. “I’ve known Selena through some of the most important years of both of our lives,” says Swift. “I’ve seen her grow up gracefully and gradually in spite of all the pressure on her. Selena has learned to make and follow her own rules, when to take a chance on projects that are out of her comfort zone, and when to walk away when something isn’t right. She’s living life on her terms.”
5. SHE LOVES TO MAKE (AND MODEL) FASHION
Her Kmart fashion line, Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez has been successful, thanks to her push to make cute clothes for good prices. “I remember when I was younger and kids in school would be wearing $40 sweaters and other things I couldn’t buy,” she says. “I wanted to make a line that was supercute and affordable, things a 12-year-old could wear and I could wear too.” She also co-designs a sports-inspired line, Adidas Neo Label. When Gomez is not creating fashion, she’s experimenting with it on red carpets. Lately she has been favoring Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. “I’m on the petite side and I don’t think I’m curvy, but maybe I’ll grow into it,” she says. “I like to wear things that are fitted because they give me more shape.” As for pushing boundaries on a fashion level—it’s also on her To Do list. “I like to show a little bit of skin in a nice way,” she says. “The idea of trying to get on a best-dressed list stresses me out. I’m so nervous. I love picking out clothes, and it would be a blast to just play dress-up all the time.”
Pick up the issue on newsstands and available for download starting May 17.