A little over two years ago, I met Selena Gomez at a recording studio in L.A. She was 16. (I won't say how old I was.) I had been aware of her because my kids were obsessed with her Disney show Wizards of Waverly Place. Thus, this teenager had spent more time capturing the attention of my kids than their dad. I told her this sad reality and she, of course, laughed (while I cried inside – just kidding).
At the time, Selena was recording a song called "Naturally," which would become a huge breakout hit for her on the radio. She struck me as being very mature, grounded, and even on that day at the studio she was surrounded by family. She wasn't one of those hyper-fidgety teen stars who have trouble focusing on a conversation because they are so over-worked and over-stimulated. (Trust me, I've met many of those.) Selena was patient, looked me in the eye, and was, well, a pretty normal kid.
Then, earlier this week, I sat down with Selena here at the E! studios to talk about her new video for "Who Says" . She's now 18. She's been hanging with the Biebz. She's on magazine covers, all over the blogs, has 4.2 million Twitter followers, her music is busting out into the mainstream. And guess what: She's pretty much as normal as you could expect. We talked about sneakers (she loves Nike), our mutual friends and her "Naturally" producers Rock Mafia, about Twitter and Facebook, about all the Biebermania around her, and how through it all she stays grounded.
"I have a very good support system around me," Selena told me. "I feel very lucky."