Selena Gomez feels sure Jay Asher handed her the film rights to his book Thirteen Reasons Why because he sensed she knew what it was like to be a victim of bullying.
Selena has turned the story into a new Netflix series, which she produced, and she admits it was an important tale to tell because she could really sympathize with the character who commits suicide.
The singer and actress tells The New York Times she optioned the book a decade ago, when she was just 15, adding, “I think he (Asher) understood that I knew what it meant to be bullied.
“I went to the biggest high school in the world, which is the Disney Channel. And my mom had a lot of history dealing with it (bullying). I heard her stories growing up. She’s very open about it.
“When I was on Wizards of Waverly Place, we didn’t have social media really. Twitter had just begun.
Every Friday, I’d get to do a live taping in front of all these little kids and make their life. That’s when I was the happiest. Then, as I got older, I watched it go from zero to a hundred. So I’m actually glad it took us this long to create this project because it’s so relevant now.”
She decided to take a big risk with the Netflix series after realizing she didn’t want to spend her 20s starring in pointless movies with no message.
“I could do any tomboy/teen princess movie in the world if I wanted to,” she tells the Times. “I could do those for years. But I want to be a part of projects that have value, that really matter. And it’s really hard to do that.
“Sometimes I feel defeated. I’ll audition for a part that I feel very passionate about, meet with people, tell them I’m willing to go places. I think they think I won’t go there. To be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon for me. I think I look really young and image-wise, it’s difficult for people to grasp.
“Early on, my mom taught me that sometimes you just have to create those projects for yourself. That’s what I want this to be: a launching pad.”