It is a little strange speaking with Selena Gomez if you are over the age of 25. While she isn't yet a household name to those born before the '90s, for anyone who came of age in the last few years, she's not just a celebrity: The mention of her name results in ecstatic meltdowns. So, though some of us know her for her recent, fresh, and elegant red-carpet looks, it's important to remember — to much of young America, she's some sort of goddess.
Another thing particularly strange about chatting with Selena is that this incredibly gracious, bright-eyed, and poised young woman is positively engaging — and doesn't seem to pay attention to the hordes of young girls screaming her name behind her as she gives you her undivided attention. That is, until she decides interview time is over and goes out to greet the girls who have been waiting for the last three hours to see a glimpse of the Gomez. She wasn't even scheduled to do a meet-and-greet, but she does one anyway.
Someone nearby mentions that she needs to show good face, now that her movie Spring Breakers is going to disenfranchise her core audience. She explains that this "bad girl" turn was not something she had planned for...but she doesn't mind it. Selena is growing up. In fact, she may be the only star in the world to conduct interviews for an indie movie while hundreds of tweens scream her name outside. It is a strange (and fascinating) role she has found herself in: part Disney, part high-fashion, breaker of Bieber's heart, plus a little Harmony Korine-created depravity. Not bad for a gal who, just a few years earlier, was just a mere wizard.
A lot of your fashion recently has veered towards the more upscale, experimental, and lesser-known designers. How closely do you work with a stylist?
"Well, I've had the same stylist since I was 14, so I've been able to mess around and play with her and play with a bunch of clothes. So, yeah, I wanted to step up and try new things."
When you first got this script for this movie, did you have any hesitation about going in this particular direction, since so many people grew up with you on Wizards of Waverly Place?
"Right. Well, I mean, to be honest, originally this was going to be — well, it still is an indie movie — but it was going to be a little bit of a smaller thing for me to be a part of, but then it turned into this thing that people are, well, talking about. So, I mean, yeah, it's kind of obvious, but it has really been an incredible thing for me to be a part of, and when I read it, I really didn't have any hesitations. I was super stoked to be a part of something like this.
And how do you think your fans are going to react to this?
"I actually don't think they are getting as much credit as they should be getting. We were in Toronto, and the first four rows of the premiere were all 18-to-22, and I was freaking out. I was like, 'Are they going to freak out when they see it?' They laughed when they needed to laugh, they were nervous and scared when they needed to be scared. I think they are going to enjoy it, for reals. It's crazy."
James Franco as Alien is terrifying to us. Was he terrifying to you, too?
"Uh, no. He did stay in character, but he was super nice and very quiet, actually."
Photo: Getty Images.