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The Transformation Of Selena Gomez From Childhood To Only Murders In The Building

Selena Gomez has returned to television with a dynamic new role in the Hulu series "Only Murders in the Building." The show follows an eccentric trio of New York residents investigating a suspicious death in their apartment complex. The comedic drama starring Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short explores the grisly allure of true crime stories.

On the show, Gomez plays Mabel Mora, a disillusioned young woman harboring dark secrets of her own. She acts as a narrative foil to the high-energy comedy of her neighbors, Charles Haden-Savage (Martin) and Oliver Putnam (Short). Despite their disparate backgrounds, these three New Yorkers bond over their devout love of a popular true crime podcast. Charles is a retired actor grappling with seclusion and joins their amateur murder investigation. Similarly, Putnam, a disgraced theater director, inserts himself into the team and creates the "Only Murders in the Building" podcast hoping it can revive his career. Mabel agrees to help, but she privately hopes to unearth the root cause of a mystery from her past with ties to the recent murder.

After its August 31 debut, the Hulu show received a positive reception from critics and viewers for its witty writing and sardonic edge (via Rotten Tomatoes). Of course, this is far from Gomez's first acclaimed role on (and off) screen. Let's take a look at Selena Gomez's evolution from child star to seasoned Hollywood actor and advocate.

Gomez got her big break on Disney

Born in 1992, Selena Gomez originally lived in Grand Prairie, Texas. Raised by a single mother, she soon learned to value the merits of hard work and perseverance. In a March 2021 Vogue interview, Gomez explained, "We didn't have much. But I felt like we did because my mom was always doing a hundred million things just to make me happy." By the time she was seven, Gomez had landed a recurring role on "Barney & Friends." A few years later, she became a part of the cast of the Disney Channel show "Wizards of Waverly Place" in the role of Alex Russo.

While on "Wizards of Waverly Place," Gomez quickly became a breakout star. Playing the sarcastic middle child in a family of wizards, Gomez earned praise for her comedy savvy and authenticity. During this time, she starred in a number of family-friendly movies, including the "Princess Protection Program," "Ramona and Beezus," and "Monte Carlo." Her frequent television and film appearances made Gomez a household name and international celebrity.

After "Wizards of Waverly Place" ended, Gomez attempted to break free from her Disney persona by acting in a varied mix of genres. She joined the cast of the 2012 indie film "Spring Breakers," a raucous and sexually explicit exploration of spring break debauchery. A few years later, she acted in the Netflix dramedy "The Fundamentals of Caring" and later landed a part in Jim Jarmusch's horror-comedy "The Dead Don't Die."

She also became a highly successful pop star

Along with acting, Selena Gomez also pursued a successful career in music. She initially fronted the band "Selena Gomez & the Scene." From 2008 to 2011, the group released three wildly popular albums that catapulted Gomez into pop stardom. In July 2021, Billboard reminded fans that many of her singles reached the Hot 100 chart, including fan favorites "Love You Like a Love Song," "Hands to Myself," and "Lose You to Love Me.

Eventually, Gomez chose to launch a solo career, which proved to be an equally winning endeavor. Her three solo albums, "Stars Dance," "Revival," and "Rare," included a number of hit singles that topped the music charts. In 2017, Billboard named Gomez the Woman of the Year for her contributions to the entertainment industry as a performer.

Recently, Gomez has chosen to honor her Mexican-American roots with a Spanish-language album titled "Revelación." She has already released a number of Spanish EPs, including "De Una Vez" and "Baila Conmigo," both of which were lauded by her widespread international fan base. As Gomez explained to Vogue, "The project is really an homage to my heritage."

Gomez uses her influence for positive change

While Selena Gomez has certainly thrived as an actress and musician, she has also embraced advocating for greater social change. In 2017, Gomez went to the hospital to undergo kidney transplant surgery as a result of her struggles with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder (via People). During an interview with Miley Cyrus on her virtual show "Bright Minded" in 2020 (via Elle UK), Gomez also shared that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. While discussing her battles with anxiety and depression, Gomez explained that she hoped to normalize conversations surrounding mental health and therapy. 

From 2017 to 2020, Gomez produced the Netflix series "Thirteen Reasons Why," a show that, while controversial, attempted to explore the complexities of mental health (via Rolling Stone). In 2019, Gomez was also a driving force behind the docuseries "Living Undocumented," which dissected American immigration policies and tracked the lives of undocumented families residing in the United States. This was another personal project for Gomez, who later revealed in an article for Time that her paternal grandparents had originally arrived in the US without legal documentation.

While it is certainly exciting that Gomez has once again stepped into the television limelight, it is equally gratifying to note the many ways in which she has used her celebrity to initiate larger change. After her thoughtful and entertaining turn as Mabel in "Only Murders in the Building," it will be intriguing to witness what she chooses to do next.