By Anthony Cesario
Last night, Selena Gomez released My Mind & Me, a documentary that follows the last six years of her life, on Apple TV+.
Anyone who keeps up with pop culture will be familiar with some of the very public information surrounding Gomez’s life; her former relationship with Justin Bieber, her diagnosis with lupus, her struggles surrounding anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. But My Mind & Me dives further below the surface than ever before, with a degree of candidness completely out of ordinary for your typical celebrity documentary.
The documentary starts with Gomez’s Revival tour in 2016 and works its way to the present. We see the behind-the-scenes struggles Gomez goes through while trying to prepare a more “adult” show to separate herself from the Disney Channel brand, the numerous physical and mental health issues she grapples with that interfere with her interpersonal relationships, the ruthless attention she garners from paparazzi and news media, and the desire to balance her philanthropic missions with the tasks expected of her as a musician. Gomez frequently mentions unhappiness with her career, but also sees herself as having a responsibility to use her platform for good.
My Mind & Me is definitely heavy. Watching Gomez struggle so much to find hope, happiness, and purpose in her life is hard to watch, especially for 90 minutes straight. At the same time, what I enjoyed most about it was how she doesn’t portray herself as a “hero” or some sort of unflawed protagonist. This made for a refreshingly raw and honest account, and important representation for those also struggling with their own mental health. There is one tearjerking scene in which she discusses experiences of suicide ideation with a woman in Kenya. As someone whose first ever favorite pop star was Selena Gomez, and who has dealt with many of the same mental health issues as she has, this documentary was truly something special.
My favorite segment of the documentary details Gomez on the promotional run for her music. We see her going from interview to interview and enduring ridiculous, impersonal questions. In one scene, an interviewer asks what she would like to do in the future. After Gomez responds from the heart about her desire to continue philanthropic work, the interviewer simply thanks her, says that’s all they need, and gets up and leaves. Gomez is visibly frustrated by this and, afterwards, vents to her team about being seen solely as a marketable product, not a person. This was a particularly poignant moment that definitely has implications towards much of the industry as a whole, and the musicians we often treat as consumable items in the modern era.
To go along with My Mind & Me, Gomez released a song by the same name, a beautiful ballad that sees her touching on many of the themes she delves into in the documentary. “My mind and me / We don’t get along sometimes,” she sings in the chorus. Later on, she adds: “It’s hard to talk and feel heard when you always feel like a burden / Don’t wanna add to concern I know they already got / But if I pull back the curtain, then maybe someone who’s hurting / Will be a little more certain they’re not the only one lost.” After watching My Mind & Me, it’s clear this is a goal she has achieved.