02-19-2017  8:48 am      •     
McMenamins

Born on July 22, 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas, Selena Gomez got an early start in show business as Gianna on "Barney & Friends." She made her screen debut soon thereafter in "Spy Kids 3-D," and subsequently appeared on such TV shows as "Walker, Texas Ranger," "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Hannah Montana" and "The Suite Life on Deck," before skyrocketing to fame starring as Alex on the Disney Channel's  Emmy-winning sitcom, "Wizards of Waverly Place."

In 2008, the versatile entertainer embarked on her musical career when she recorded several songs for the soundtrack of her Disney film, "Another Cinderella Story." She has since had many hit tunes, including duets with Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, as well as with her own group, Selena Gomez and The Scene.

In 2009, Selena became the youngest UNICEF Goodwill ambassador in history at 17. The following year, she launched her very own fashion line, the Dream Out Loud Collection.

In terms of her private life, Selena has long been romantically linked to pop idol Justin Bieber, and the couple was recently rumored to be building a love nest together in the San Fernando Valley. Here, she talks about her new movie, "Hotel Transylvania," an animated adventure where she plays Dracula's daughter Mavis who, over her father's objections, falls in love with a mere mortal.

Kam Williams: Hi Selena, thanks for another interview.

Selena Gomez: Of course, Kam thank you.

KW: I really appreciate that last time you were gracious enough to take a photo afterwards with my intern, Richie. Thanks.

SG: Thank Richie for asking. That was so sweet.

KW: Editor/legist  Patricia Turnier asks: What interested you in "Hotel Transylvania?"

SG: It had a really good script, it's really funny, and has an amazing cast, so it was kind of a no brainer. 



KW: How would you describe the movie?

SG: I think it's a really cute father-daughter film that kinda touches on growing up, and on experiencing your daughter wanting to have independence. It's a really sweet story that daughters and dads can relate to.

KW: Richie would like to know what's your favorite type of monster: a zombie, a werewolf, a vampire or something else?

SG: Probably a zombie.

KW: Larry Greenberg says: I really love the place where horror and comedy touch.  Did you have a lot of fun working on this film?

SG: Yes, and for that particular reason. I love scary movies, so I really enjoyed being a part of a project that puts a twist on the scary formula.

KW: How did you find it portraying an animated character for the first time? 

SG: It was different for me, since I had never done something like that before. So, I enjoyed it. It was new. I would love to do it again. It was great!

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: You've already been acclaimed for singing and dancing, for acting on TV and film, for fashion, for your charity ambassadorship and you're only 20 years old-- what's left for the rest of your life?

SG: [Giggles] I don't know. I guess I'm just sort of figuring it out. But I do enjoy everything I've been doing, and I feel very, very blessed and lucky.

KW: Patricia also asks: What does it mean to you to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and what was the most fulfilling thing you did so far for UNICEF?

SG: Working with Unicef is very, very important to me. Like I said, I've been very blessed, so I feel that it's very important for me to give back as much as I can and to use the platform that I have to kind of spread the word. What's been most fulfilling is being able to travel with them and witness how this organization does what it believes in, which is saving kids' lives.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: How did you become so altruistic at such a young age? Where did you get your inspiration to do so much to help make the world a better place, all the charity work with children, animals and other causes?

SG: It's always been important to my parents, and that's where it came from. I was taught that no matter how little or how much we had, that it was important to give back. They always donated my clothes to shelters, and we'd always volunteer at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving. So, concern for the less fortunate has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

KW: Bernadette also asks: Is there another pop icon whose career choices and level of success you're trying to emulate or exceed?

SG: There are a lot of people I look up to. But the person whose story has touched me the most is Katy Perry. She's worked really hard to get to where she is, and it certainly didn't happen overnight for her.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read? The last time you told me it was, "13 Reasons Why."

SG: "The 5 Love Languages."

KW: What was the last song you listened to? 

SG: I've been listening to Frank Ocean's new album

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

SG: Oh, I love Southern food, so any type of casserole.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

SG: For high, high-end fashion would have to be Marchesa.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

SG: Myself. [Giggles]

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

SG: For everyone to be nice.

KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

SG: A monkey.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

SG: My first concert ever, with Britney Spears.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

SG: Drive.

KW: The Michael Ealy question: If you could meet anyone who has passed on, who would it be?

SG: Marilyn Monroe.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

SG: You have to love what you do. You really have to be passionate about it, and you can't let anyone else get you down.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

SG: For my work.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Selena, and best of luck with "Hotel Transylvania."

SG: Thank you so much, Kam.

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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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