The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

What’s it been like grow­ing up in front of a cam­era for the past 10 years?

It’s awk­ward. The mis­con­cep­tion of be­ing a child star is that you’re forced into it. A lot of direc­tors or mu­si­cians or writ­ers are like, ‘Do you have an iden­tity? Did your par­ents make you do this?’ The mo­ment I hit 18 I was des­per­ate to prove I had my own voice. I didn’t like that peo­ple thought that I was just this one-di­men­sional per­son.

So you’ve ma­tured, you’re 23 now, but are you really grown up enough to be play­ing a mother in Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2?

I had two roles this year play­ing a mother! I was like, hmmm ... But the Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia one was won­der­ful be­cause it’s a deeper mes­sage than just be­ing a mum; it’s about hav­ing some­one in your life that’s dif­fer­ent. Us­ing mon­sters and hu­mans, it’s a way to talk to your kids about be­ing dif­fer­ent and learn­ing what that means and em­brac­ing that. Es­pe­cially if your kid wants to ex­press them­selves in a dif­fer­ent way.

Af­ter the first Ho­tel

Tran­syl­va­nia movie, what did kids tell you they loved about the char­ac­ter you voice, Mavis?

The first ques­tion they ask me is if I’m a real vam­pire. They ask if I sleep up­side down. The best part is they wanna meet Drac­ula. It’s usu­ally a lot of younger boys that love this movie – they’re like, ‘I have a crush on Mavis’ and I’m like, ‘Call me when you’re 18’. It’s cute.

Are you OK with be­ing a role model for young girls?

Hon­estly, it’s been the best gift. I don’t mean that in a cheesy way. What I would say to any young girl, about any­body they’re look­ing up to, is: What did that per­son do to get there? Do they have a good work ethic? Did they chase their dreams? Are they good women? I’m not the best, but I hope that any­body who looks at me will say: She came from Texas, she’s been work­ing since she was seven, she works hard, she loves her fans, she tries to be the best she can, she looks bad in that pic­ture, she looks good in that pic­ture – at least it’s me be­ing who I am. The prob­lem is, I think some of th­ese girls look up to peo­ple who don’t have the best in­ten­tions ... But my hope is that they really love on some­one that will make them feel like they can do any­thing.

Whose ca­reer do you ad­mire?

I love ev­ery­one from Meryl Streep to Kate Winslet to Rachel McA­dams. I think their choices are sin­gu­lar. Rachel, she did Mean Girls and Note­book to Red Eye and Wed­ding Crash­ers – com­edy, thriller, drama, ro­mance. They rein­vent them­selves for a char­ac­ter. I love that.

How do you deal with haters on so­cial me­dia?

I usu­ally try to ig­nore it. In­tel­li­gence is a good throw­back: ‘You mis­spelled that, just so you know’.

What kind of time have you spent with Adam Sandler, who voices Mavis’s dad, Drac­ula, in the Ho­tel

Tran­syl­va­nia movies?

When I did the first movie, I didn’t know if I was even gonna see him. But at my first ses­sion, he was there. He came from pick­ing up his kids at school and he goes, ‘Well I guess it was a good thing I hired you for this movie, be­cause all the kids at school know who you are!’

You’ve ticked a lot of boxes. Any you’re yet to tick?

I feel like I haven’t even started! I’m so grate­ful for the TV show ( Wizards of Waverly Place); I will never be bash­ful or re­gret be­ing a Dis­ney kid. It gave me a plat­form to reach to a younger au­di­ence. Also hav­ing four albums. There’s just so much more for me to achieve now I have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of my strengths. There’s so much peo­ple haven’t seen that I’m ca­pa­ble of do­ing and I really be­lieve in my­self and I know I can do things peo­ple don’t think I can.

Do you think your lat­est al­bum Re­vival shows us a new Se­lena?

Yeah, I do. It took a lot of time and a lot of fig­ur­ing out. Even down to the ti­tle of the al­bum – it tells you it’s my time.

Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2 opens to­day


Pic­ture: GETTY

Se­lena Gomez (cen­tre) with

Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2’ s Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky, ac­tors Adam Sandler and Kevin James, and pro­ducer Michelle Mur­docca.

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