Jay Asher's novel 13 Reasons Why was brought to the small screen thanks to the passion of pop star Selena Gomez, who acted as executive producer of the series along with her mother, Mandy Teefey. Many who tuned into the Netflix series felt a connection with Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school junior who killed herself after a string of terrible events made her feel as though her life was no longer worth living. While not everyone has been to that depth of depression, Gomez — who reportedly spent time in a mental health facility in 2016 — revealed that she really felt for the character, and that she saw her own experiences mirrored in Hannah's story.
In a joint interview with 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford, Gomez revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that she had experienced similar struggles to Hannah. Though Gomez did not go to a traditional high school, the 24-year-old actress and singer revealed that she did experience some of these feelings while starring on her Disney Channel show Wizards of Waverly Place, which began in 2007 and ended in 2012. She told THR:
"I see myself in Hannah so much. Seven years ago I did and even more so today, which I think is funny because it's backwards. The older I get the more insecure I get, which is odd. But that's something a lot of people can relate to. Her personality is a quiet strength. I've never really been the one to be in anyone's face. A lot of girls feel like they have to be a certain way for attention. Social media has amplified all of that. I get that she didn't want that to be what her life was."
Gomez recently revealed in an interview with Vogue that she doesn't have the Instagram app on her phone (or the account's password), as she "freaked out" after learning she was once the most-followed person on the app. When asked about her reasons for producing 13 Reasons Why by The New York Times, she answered: "I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel."
While Gomez might not have had the most traditional high school experience in the world, it sounds like she connected with Hannah because she knows what it's like to be judged — just on a far more massive scale.