At just 13-years-old, Selena Gomez was thrust into a life of stardom after landing a leading role on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Since then, she’s been non-stop in her acting and singing career, which ultimately led to a brief stay in rehab earlier this year.
The 21-year-old attended We Day California on Wednesday, where she opened up about the personal struggles she’s experienced throughout her career. “I’m surrounded by people who are supposed to guide me,” she told the audience. “Some of them have, and others haven’t. They pressure me. There’s so much pressure — you gotta be sexy, you gotta be cute, you gotta be nice. You gotta be all these things.”
While expanding on this time in her life, the “Slow Down” singer got a bit choked up, and had to hold back tears. “They tell me what to wear, how to look, what I should say,” she explained. “Until recently, I had given into that pressure. I lost sight of who I was. I listened to opinions of people and I tried to change who I am because I thought that others would accept me for it. And I realized, I don’t know how to be anything but myself.”
But the speech wasn’t just about sharing her story. At the same time, Selena made sure to give the crowd some uplifting words. “All I really want you to know is that you are changing the world,” she gushed. “I’m not changing the world — you’re changing the world. And that’s amazing. Please, please just be kind to each other and love and inspire people because…let’s do it. Let’s change the game!”
Check out her entire speech in the video above.