How Selena Gomez Became An Unstoppable Force Of Nature After Bieber

9 May 2016, 16:23 | Updated: 30 December 2019, 15:11

Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

How she went from "Justin Bieber's ex" to the most influential 23-year-old.

Where were you when Selena Gomez became the most influential 23 year old woman on earth? Earlier this year, the biggest story in social media news was that the new queen of Instagram was not a Kardashian or Miss Taylor Swift. The most followed and influential person on Instagram was now officially Selena Gomez.

With a brilliant end-of-summer 2015 release under her belt and 78.1 million followers on Instagram, Selena has pulled off one of the biggest hollywood revivals (pardon the pun) in recent memory. But how did Selena go from constantly being referred to as "Justin Bieber’s ex" to a person with nearly 100 million followers on Instagram?

Selena had a revival, for real.
2015’s Revival album roll out was a glimpse of a completely different pop star. Selena spent much of 2014 getting back together with Justin Bieber and it finally felt like she was ready to ditch the boy and work on her craft. Revival was an apt name, carrying the weight of Selena’s carefully plotted reinvention.

First and foremost, Selena actively started talking about being a grown woman and it felt like we were experiencing the realest version of her ever.

I have my own definition of what I think is beautiful and sexy. That's why, in the video [for "Good For You"], I didn't wear lingerie and I didn't have a guy in it. It's a woman in one of those raw, bare moments; she's vulnerable, and that's sexy.

Selena Gomez

Suddenly Selena became interesting. She joined the revolution of pop stars acknowledging that they were sexual beings and giving up the pretense that sex was this mystical thing that no one could ever talk about. She called out her body shamers, referred to herself as a feminist, talked about her weight gain and battle with lupus, and started speaking loudly and proudly about the magic of women supporting each other.

Selena stopped dating Justin in order to climb out of his shadow

One of the most unfortunate things about Selena’s career trajectory up until 2015, is that it had seemingly been derailed by the reductive attitudes the media had about her and Justin’s relationship. 

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She would go into interviews and be asked relentlessly about Justin Bieber and, after a while, you kind of forgot why she was there. Somewhere along the way, however, Selena stopped landing in the headlines for being back with Justin and started to actively push back against the constant Bieber association. 

Selena stopped letting people dictate her fame as something achieved through the act of being someone's girlfriend. And that's when she started killing it. 

Even as her Revival tour takes shape, she is not letting her post-Bieber success sour in the hands of “Jelena” shippers unwilling to let go of the past.


A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) onMar 8, 2016 at 11:47am PST

And lastly, Selena seemingly got fearless about everything. She stopped being afraid to shut down haters; she stopped being afraid to tell off rogue fans; she stopped being afraid to talk about sex and post risque photos of herself.

She started acting how her fans acted on social media, embracing all her flaws and letting people see an unguarded version of herself.

Selena became one of the most relatable pop stars by joining Taylor’s squad, ditching Bieber, and speaking up for herself. May we all enjoy the same career glo up that has turned Selena into a major force to be reckoned with.