CATEGORIES Features, Movies

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Disney star-turned-pop-singer-turned-film-actress Selena Gomez may have gained fame from her small screen roles and relationship with Justin Bieber. However, the 21-year-old is now maturing and doing her own thing -- and by maturing we do not mean desperately twerking for attention (cough Miley Cyrus).

Gomez made quite the mark on the big screen this year, appearing in her first grown-up role in Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" alongside former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens. Gomez also made a cameo in Eli Roth's "Aftershock" this summer and stars alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller "Getaway," opening this week.

While you saw her snuggling with Bieber on every tabloid cover and flicking her wand in Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place," there's probably a few things you still don't know about the star. From her controversy with PETA to her musical influences, check out these Selena Gomez facts so you're up to speed on the former Disney star.

1. Gomez was named after Selena, the famous Tejano singer who died three years after she was born.

2. She has said she was bullied a lot in elementary and middle school. In an interview she said, "It makes you a stronger person to turn your cheek and go the other way."

3. Her interest in acting came from watching her former stage actress mother, Mandy Teefey, prepare for auditions.

4. Gomez's first role was on "Barney and Friends" as Gianna for 16 episodes.

5. Her first concert was a Britney Spears show. She recalled, "I just remember it being the highlight of my life! I felt like I was on cloud nine!"

6. She is best friends with fellow former Disney star and singer Demi Lovato, whom she first met at an audition for "Barney and Friends." Both artists had videos nominated at this year's MTV VMAs.

7. Gomez won the MTV VMA this year for Best Pop Video for her hit single "Come & Get It."

8. The former Disney star used to wear a purity ring that said "True Love Waits," which her father had blessed in a church. However, Gomez stopped wearing the ring when she began dating Justin Beiber.

9. Gomez's debut solo album "Stars Dance" was released this July. Her single "Come & Get It" peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first song to make it in the Top 10.

10. Gomez is good friends with fellow pop singer Taylor Swift. The two sat together at the MTV VMAs and Gomez has since denied answering questions about Swift's controversial unheard comments towards Harry Styles' of One Direction at the awards show.

11. Her role model and favorite actress is Rachel McAdams.

12. Her band Selena Gomez and the Scene has released three studio albums and is currently on hiatus while she works on her solo music and acting careers.

13. Gomez has said singer Bruno Mars is a major musical influence. She's also named Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Skrillex as influences.

14. For her band's 2011 music video "Love You Like a Love Song", Gomez had horses spray-painted pink. This led to accusations from PETA and singer Pink about the treatment of the animals.

15. Gomez and Lovato had their own YouTube series in 2008 called "The Demi and Selena Show."

16. Before starring in her first lead role as Alex Russo on Disney Channel's "The Wizards of Waverly Place," Gomez appeared on "Hannah Montana." She played Mikayla, Hannah's pop star rival. (Remember this?)

17. Her feature on Forever the Sickest Kids' song "Woah Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)" in 2009 was her musical debut.

18. Gomez dated Nick Jonas for a short time and appeared in the Jonas Brothers' video for "Burnin' Up" in 2009.

19. For the soundtrack of her direct-to-DVD movie "Another Cinderella Story," Gomez recorded three songs. The promo single "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" became her first song to chart on the Billboard 100, peaking at #58.

20. Gomez launched her own production company, July Moon Productions, in 2008. She planned to make a movie about a girl who could hear boys' thoughts, but the project never happened.


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