The career arc of a Disney Channel star is pretty well established.
1. Get yourself cast in a clean-cut show that enchants a nation of 12-year-olds.
2. Release a Top 40 song about puppy love.
3. Date a couple of rock stars.
4. Spiral downward into drugs and/or some level of self-exploitation.
The Wizards of Waverly Place star (and Hannah Montana alum, btw) Selena Gomez has checked everything but the depressing No. 4 part off her list. If she plays her cards right—and we're pretty sure she is—she'll be able to leapfrog right into an awesome, as-yet-undefined No. 5 phase.
To date, Selena has kept things miraculously positive.
Rather than dabbling with collagen injections or DUIs, she's opted for a long-term romance with Justin Bieber while conquering every kind of celebrity merch, from a signature fragrance to her own clothing line.
And did we mention she's the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever?
A look at her full résumé makes you wonder how she squeezed in any kind of childhood at all. But when you're named after the late singer Selena, you've got a lot to live up to, and Gomez has done an extraordinary job of growing into a full-blown teenage franchise without compromising her rare blend of tomboy mischievousness and elegant beauty.
Now 19, her most buzzed-about project is Spring Breakers, which will send up the final flare that Gomez has graduated from the Disney schoolyard into grittier, more mature territory.
Directed by Harmony Korine—known for grim adolescent narratives like Kids and Gummo—the film centers on some college kids who resort to theft and buddy up with a drug dealer.
Promotional pics of Gomez and fellow Disney starlet Vanessa Hudgens posing in front of cop cars in teeny bikinis are already rocking the Internet. Sound racy compared to the House of Mouse? Yes, and we're as giddy as Mouseketeers with anticipation.