Selena Gomez Says It Would Have Been a “Distraction” if She’d Starred in Her Netflix Show


It’d be understandable if you erroneously believed that Selena Gomez stars in the forthcoming Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Gomez’s name—if not her face—has been front and center in the promotional materials for the series, and she has been posting about the show on her Instagram account (the most- followed Instagram account of them all, no less) for weeks now.

But Gomez is not actually acting in the series, which will be released on Netflix March 31. Instead, she is solely involved as an executive producer. Her mother, Mandy Teefy, discovered the novel upon which the show is based in 2008, and was at the time developing it with her daughter as a starring movie vehicle for Gomez. As with many a Hollywood property, the shape of the project has shifted greatly since then, and now—rather than a movie starring an extremely famous young actress—13 Reasons Why, about a girl who commits suicide, is emerging as a Netflix series starring unknowns.

In a new sit-down interview with The New York Times, Gomez explained the personal connection she had with this material (“I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel. And my mom had a lot of history dealing with [bullying].”). She also noted that, as she checked into a rehab facility for her health last year, right as the show began filming, it felt like the plot on the series was “mirroring what was going on in [her] life.”

Additionally, Gomez broke down why she felt it would be wise to stay behind-the scenes on the project after all, seemingly referring to her very high profile as a tabloid staple. “The older I got—once I left [Wizards of Waverly Place], once I started to go for roles that weren’t that age range—it organically began to become a project that I knew I would be behind the scenes with. I actually like that I’m not in it. To be honest, this book has such a huge following. I wanted it to be credible. If I’m a part of it, that’s going to cause a whole other conversation.”

When asked if she thought she would have been “a distraction” if she had starred in the show, Gomez responded, “Yeah. And I knew that.”

Gomez explained that she hopes this project will serve as a “launching pad” for her: “I want to be a part of projects that have value, that really matter,” she said. “And it’s really hard to do that. 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. I think they think I won’t go there. To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon for me. 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.”

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