Selena Gomez Says She 'Felt Like a Joke' Transitioning from Disney to Adult Acting Projects

"I'm grateful for where I am, but I think and I believe that I’ve barely touched the surface of what I’m able to do," Selena Gomez told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast

Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Selena Gomez had some growing up to do after she left Disney stardom.

The Only Murders in the Building actress, 29, recently acknowledged it was anything but simple to step into adult acting roles after her child star days — especially because she didn't initially feel accepted by her peers in the industry.

"I felt like it was very difficult for people to take me seriously," she told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast. "I have slowly pushed through that, and I'm really glad, but it was very frustrating. I felt like a joke, you know?"

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE - "Ghost Roommate" - After Alex and Harper realize they can no longer afford their utility bills, a search for a new roommate leads them to Lucy, a ghost with a broken heart, in a new episode premiering FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. (Photo by Bruce Birmelin/ Disney Channel via Getty Images)SELENA GOMEZ, JENNIFER STONE
Selena Gomez (left) and Jennifer Stone on Wizards of Waverly Place. Bruce Birmelin/ Disney Channel via Getty

Gomez, who was a child actor who appeared in Barney & Friends, got her official start as Alex Russo on the Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place. When the show went off air in 2012, she hoped to break out of the mold by taking on heavier roles.

One of Gomez's first post-Disney roles was 2012's controversial Spring Breakers, which costarred Gomez's fellow Disney vet Vanessa Hudgens and Pretty Little Liars' Ashley Benson engaged in scenarios marked by violence, sex and drug use.

2022 Critics Choice
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In the years since, Gomez has established herself across many industries and added "Producer" to her résumé with Only Murders in the Building, which premieres its second season June 28 on Hulu.

The Grammy-nominated singer recently confirmed to Deadline's Crew Call podcast that she's in the studio working on her next album.

"I'm grateful for where I am, but I think and I believe that I've barely touched the surface of what I'm able to do," she said.

Gomez has also been an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness. She launched her cosmetics brand, Rare Beauty, in tandem with the Rare Impact Fund, with the goal of raising $100 million over the next 10 years to connect people in underserved communities with mental health services.

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