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‘Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me’ misfires in getting fans to understand where her head is at

‘Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me’ misfires in getting fans to understand where her head is at

Aside from making for interesting subject matters, celebrities also make for great headlines and gossip. The bigger the star, the bigger the interest.

The obsession with stars has been and will continue to be a talking point, whether on social media, in tabloids or in documentaries.

Look at Lindsay Lohan, for example. This IT girl in Hollywood was once the buzz of the town. But her stardom nosedived after a plethora of substance abuse situations landed her in hot water with the law. She was spiralling out of control at the height of stardom.

Older – and presumably much wiser – she recently announced her return to Hollywood in the Netflix movie, “Falling for Christmas”.

And if you are wondering where I’m going with this train of thought, it is to point out that the fascination with icons hasn’t ceased.

Even though Lohan’s docu-series, “Lindsay”, was short-lived, it did pique curiosities.

The same could be said for other public figures like Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, O.J. Simpson and more.

Of course, some documentaries were exposés on superstars, à la R Kelly, who is now serving time for his crimes.

The latest celebrity to have her story told is Selena Gomez.

This child star, who used the spotlight to escape from her insecurities, found fame in the children's television series “Barney & Friends” circa 2002 until 2004.

She went on to become a teenage star in Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”, from 2007 to 2012.

From thereon, fame hit her like a moving train. She was in big-screen offerings like “Another Cinderella Story” (2008), “ Monte Carlo” (2011), “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” (2016), “The Dead Don't Die” (2019) and “A Rainy Day in New York” (2019).

‘Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me’ misfires in getting fans to understand where her head is at
Selena Gomez in a scene from 'Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me. Picture: Supplied

But she didn’t just leave deep footprints in front of the camera. She proved her mettle in the music industry, too, with hits like “Good for You”, “Come & Get It”, “Same Old Love”, “Hands to Myself” and, of course, the song that is most fresh in everyone's mind, “Lose You to Love Me”.

And she has also added the title of executive producer to her résumé with “13 Reasons Why”, “Living Undocumented”, “Selena + Chef”, and “Only Murders in the Building”.

Why am I listing accolades that could so easily be found via a quick google search? Well, it is because Gomez is so much more than a name. She’s so much more than her highly-publicised rocky relationship with Justin Bieber (now married to Hailey Bieber).

And, at 30, that’s quite an achievement.

But her documentary, “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”, attempts to capture a more personal side to her but doesn’t quite pull it off.

That’s what annoyed me about this feature.

It comes across as impersonal and forced. And that is the real tragedy because I couldn’t connect on any level with Gomez, and I doubt I’m the only one.

In the offering, she addresses a challenge that has become a hotbed topic since Covid-19 ripped through everyone's life in some way. It is about mental well-being. And it has been an unending battle for the star, who openly admitted to being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

The series gives streamers a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into her anxiety ahead of a performance on tour, her harassment by the paparazzi over her personal life, her battle with Lupus and her exhaustion from having to smile on the outside while being broken on the inside.

There are times when Gomez is engulfed by sadness and low self-esteem.

To the world, she is this glamorous baby-faced sex symbol. To her, she feels like an imposter. She feels like she is lying her way through fame.

Even when she tries to get away from it all by visiting her childhood neighbourhood and school, the vestiges of joy she draws on are brief.

Her words at the end, “I think I needed to go through that to be who I am, and then I’m gonna keep going through it. But, I’m really happy,” should wrap this documentary up in a nice bow, heralding a battle that has been won.

However, to anyone who has experienced similar struggles, combined with the fact that Gomez is always under scrutiny as a public figure, I can’t help but wonder if it is painting a falsity of what the situation is truly like for Gomez.

After all, these challenges don’t just disappear in the duration of one documentary. And that’s what’s missing from this documentary. It lacks heart. It lacks conviction.

And it gets muddled in the dazzling bright lights of her world, so much so that it loses the very essence of what it was trying to convey. Such is the blight in the world of stardom: being misunderstood and alone.

“Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” is streaming on Apple TV+.

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