Selena Gomez showcases her struggles with fame, mental health in new documentary


Photo Courtesy of Apple TV+

Selena Gomez opens up about her mental health in new documentary.

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

From a young age, Selena Gomez as an individual was cast into the limelight of fame and her new documentary on Apple TV+ aims to showcase the realities and traumas of the celebrity and her battles with both mental illness and struggles with her medical condition. While “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me” does show positive aspects of Gomez and her journey with personal growth,  the documentary also highlights disparities that make it hard to connect with Gomez the way the documentary intends for viewers to.  


The documentary starts in 2016 in the midst of Gomez’s Revival Tour before its cancellation due to her struggles with mental health which led to her entering a mental health treatment facility. From there the documentary follows the celebrity as she grapples with her wanting to use her platform to help others while struggling with her own mental health and her diagnosis of lupus. Specific moments of the documentary do manage to highlight the sincerity of Gomez’s situation. The documentary actively uses Gomez’s music to highlight her own mental state such as by framing songs such as “Lose You to Love Me” and “Who Says” as if Gomez was speaking to herself. The documentary also shows positive steps that Gomez has taken towards helping others such as the heart-to-hearts she had with students both from her old middle school and schools in Kenya on mental health and connecting with individual students on their own personal journeys. There is a clear contrast between the celebrity’s attitude in wholesome moments like these and her dislike for the loud, mendacious world of paparazzi and media interviews where she doesn’t get to be her true self.  


While there are some legitimately touching moments in the documentary such as her visit to Kenya, there are times when her situation feels unrelatable due to how Selena carries herself with her status and how the people around her react to it which hurts the documentary’s message. A handful of scenes featuring Selena visiting the houses and neighbors from her childhood were particularly egregious. Not only has Selena not seen these individuals in years but she also makes her way into their houses with cameramen and crew with some individuals being complete strangers that only own the home that she used to live in. 


 The documentary tries to frame these instances as introspective walks down memory lane but given how many of the people clearly seem uncomfortable and taken aback by Selena when she visits them, it’s hard to feel as if she’s not taking advantage of her status to the detriment of these people which feels especially disingenuous given that the first time she sees them in years is for the purpose of a documentary to promote herself. There are also mixed messages in the documentary when it comes to Gomez’s relationships with the people around her. Her staff and friends are framed as a support group but most of the time come off as yes-men as they always agree to help Gomez with what she wants while actual family members such as her mom only get one instance of being interviewed and not seen interacting with Gomez anywhere else in the film.  


While “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me” has moments that make it hard to sympathize with the celebrity, the documentary does still provide a positive message when it comes to dealing with mental health and captures what it’s like for someone in Gomez’s situation to deal with the issues that result from it.