Selena Gomez on Getting ‘Mouthy’ Defending ‘People I Love’ Online and the Problem With Beauty Standards

The entrepreneur spoke at the TIME100 Summit about returning to Instagram and her experience with makeup.

Selena Gomez was a panelist at today’s TIME100 Summit in New York City. The singer, outfitted in a black Brandon Maxwell corset maxi dress, did more than just discuss her business, Rare Beauty, and how she has no plans to stop running it amid reports of the company exploring an IPO sale. (“I am just enjoying this a little too much,” she quipped.)

She also addressed beauty standards, her social media use, and life after going public with her bipolar depression diagnosis in 2020. With social media in particular, Gomez said that after four years away from Instagram, she’s back but careful with her use.

When asked how she copes with being the platform’s most followed woman and its impact on her mental health, Gomez acknowledged the benefits of her break.selena gomez at the 2024 time100 summit

“Well, I took four years off of Instagram, and I let my team post for me for those years,” she began. “I felt like it was the most rewarding gift I gave myself. I think people, especially young kids, it’s—you’re sitting there so focused on what looks wonderful when everything that’s meant to be wonderful to you is not from here. [During my break], I was more present. I was happier. I would actually get real phone calls [from] people telling me about their story, and I could actually hear it instead of going, ‘Oh, I already know what you did today.’ It’s more human.”

Now that she’s back on Instagram herself, “I just—I find it frustrating and then I get a little mouthy, and I wanna defend people I love,” she said. Gomez’s comments on Instagram and TikTok defending friends like Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Benny Blanco, have gotten some media attention.

Gomez said with social media overall, she thinks “it’s important to take breaks. So I try to—I don’t really pay much attention. I’ll just do things here and there.”

She also spoke about why sharing her bipolar depression diagnosis was liberating. “It’s actually a bit freeing once I was able to get it out because for years, I was so confused that my emotions were so intense. And it was very confusing and then I went into psychosis, and all these confusing things were happening. And once I finally found the answer, it wasn’t, ‘Oh, I have this problem.’ It actually made me feel better to know and understand what was happening in my mind. And I actually found it to be less scary.”

She added that “words and titles of course can confuse people. But I’m proud to say I’ve been lucky enough to have the right medications, and I believe in taking care of yourself. And I just wear it as a badge. I’m not ashamed of it in any way.”

selena gomez at the 2024 time100 summit

One of the more surprising things Gomez shared during the panel was that she is “terrible” at doing her makeup.

When discussing entering the cosmetics space, Gomez said, “Personally, I felt that there’s a very unrealistic standard when it comes to the cosmetic world, and it makes me a little sad for my generation and for anyone to look at something that’s probably touched up and made to look nice. I just wanted to break that down. I don’t know how to do makeup, and I have a makeup line. Like, I’m terrible at it.”

With Rare, she wanted to make products that didn’t make people “feel like they had to look a certain way, didn’t have to change the shape of their face. I wanted it to feel good when you were using my products. And all of our products are named based on uplifting things, from our Find Comfort line to anything that comes to mind, body, and soul. We try to be very conscious of even naming the products to be reminders of joy or just finding yourself. So I genuinely just wanted to make makeup that was fun for people. I don’t believe in having to look a certain way. I spent years trying to do that and it just—it’s draining, a waste of time.”

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