Melody Chiu
September 07, 2017 11:00 AM

Selena Gomez‘s interview is part of TIME Firsts, a multimedia project featuring 46 groundbreaking women. Watch the rest of the videos at Time.com/Firsts. Buy the book at the TIME Shop.

She’s the most-followed celebrity on Instagram, but even Selena Gomez has her issues with social media.

“It’s already difficult to get up every day and just feel good about yourself without seeing the highlights of everyone else,” Gomez, 25, says in TIME Firsts. “Strength doesn’t mean that you have to put on a façade. I think strength is being vulnerable. I hope my fans learn that who they are is beautiful [and] how they can connect with people by sharing what they’re feeling.”

Luisa Dörr for TIME

The actress and singer — who was the first person to reach 100 million followers on Instagram — can’t pinpoint the exact moment she knew she wanted to be an entertainer, but “I think it just kind of was instinctual for me,” she says. “I loved being able to make people laugh.”

Gomez’s mother Mandy Teefey had her when she was just 16 years old, “so we kind of grew up together,” adds the star. “When I started working, my mom was the person in my life that helped guide me through most of that. Everything that I am has become a little bit of what my mom’s gone through.”

The mother-daughter duo produced Netflix’s hit series 13 Reasons Why together, and Gomez credits Teefey for her success in Hollywood.

Says the star: “She had the ability to make me feel like I was still capable of doing anything I wanted.”

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