Selena Gomez has responded to criticism from friend Britney Spears and revealed why she was fervent about promoting healthy body messages to her fans.
She further discussed the issue with podcast host Jay Shetty and elaborated on why she spent much of 2016 trying to get a message of body positivity out to her fans, including at the American Music Awards that year.
During her acceptance speech for Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist, Gomez told the AMA crowd: “I don’t wanna see your bodies on Instagram. I wanna see what’s in here,” while pointing to her heart.
“I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore,” she added.
Gomez opened up to Shetty about the need to present an authentic version of herself where she admitted to fans she wasn’t perfect and “put together.” She also explained how in the past she felt she had to portray a certain public image.
“I felt like I had to be a certain way, that’s why in 2016 I was talking about my body and talking about my appearance and talking about how ‘oh, everyone’s going to see me as this Disney kid, no one’s going to take me seriously,’” Gomez said.
“That’s where all the confusion came for me.”
Shetty agreed and said it seemed Gomez was revealing her emotional growth in the public eye.
The Only Murders In The Building star revealed she felt huge pressure to be a positive role model.
“One thing I noticed when I started to watch the documentary back for the first time, I didn’t even recognize that girl anymore. And it broke my heart because I was talking about my body and my image and I just hate that I ever felt those feelings,” Gomez said.
“Because I have a younger sister, there has been this huge responsibility given to me, in a way that has helped me,” she said. “And I say this about my fans as well or people who’ve grown with me. I’ve almost had to get back up every time, more so for them than myself, and that’s something I’ve learned to really understand. It’s healthy to want to be strong for other people.”
She added: “But I needed to recognize…I needed to be strong for myself.”
Gomez was speaking after she seemed to have been slighted by pal Spears on Instagram in October.
The “Toxic” singer posted a since deleted lengthy caption on the social media site with her posing in a red bikini.
Spears seemed to take aim at Gomez for her AMAs speech in the caption and seemingly slammed her comments.
“Don’t you just love the nerve of women who stand firmly getting awards and speak on their beliefs about not showing their bodies on instagram ???!!!!!” Spears wrote.
“They say ‘This is NOT something I would do’ yet those women are the very ones who get 4 million dollar budget videos made about sucking and licking on homemade ice cream!!!!”
The ice cream reference may have been talking about Gomez’s music video with K-pop group Blackpink for the song “Ice Cream.”
Gomez and the Blackpink stars—Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa— work in an ice cream truck and later eat ice cream from cones in the 2020 video.
Spears added: “These other girls have nothing but beautiful bodies !!!! Who cares if they flaunt it ??? THEY SHOULD !!!
“So the next time I see someone with a big budget video sucking on lollipops yet giving righteous speeches shaming other women for exposing their bodies, I would like to tell those people don’t be a hypocrite as you suck on your lollipop having HUGE budget dreams…”
She concluded: “Why would you stand firmly against girls getting attention JUST LIKE YOU and they have absolutely nothing ????”
Gomez was one of many A-list guests who attended Spears’ nuptials to Sam Asghari in June and was showered with praise by the bride.
“Thank you to Selena for telling me all she wants is for me to be happy 3 times !!! It was a very, very, very special wedding !!!” Spears wrote on Instagram in August.
“It was so cool she was able to get to me and share her thoughts … Although I’ve been forced to see people against my will my whole life … she was a beautiful surprise !!!” wrote Spears.
“I appreciate ALL the mental health speeches she does for our generation … Two-hour specials with representatives … You’re such a special person and I had to share this picture … I thought it would make her happy.”
Newsweek has reached out to representatives of Gomez and Spears for comment.
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