Selena Gomez, Flare

Courtesy Flare

Selena Gomez is no longer letting the haters ruin her day...In fact, she's letting them inspire her to become the woman she's always wanted to be.

As the smokin' hot cover girl for Flare magazine—donning a leather, dominatrix-style ensemble—the 23-year-old singer reveals to the world just how self-aware and empowered she is right now in her life. Nothing can hold her down.

Earlier this year, haters and Internet trolls had a field day over some photographs that were taken of SelGo in Mexico, criticizing her weight and body shaming her. While this could have easily destroyed Gomez, she let it influence her in a positive way—eventually, coming up with her new album title, Revival, because of it.

Selena Gomez, Instagram

Instagram

"I was really bummed when I found out all that stuff was going on," she says, recalling a moment she had in Mexico after reading the criticism. "And that's when I was like, 'I'm so tired of feeling like I'm being pulled down by something.' Revival is the first song on the album, and the first lines are, 'I feel like I've awakened—the chains around me are finally breaking.'"

She also hit back at her haters with a sexy Instagram snap on that trip with a caption that read, "I love being happy with me ya'll"—something she admits was fully planned, as are most of her social media posts.

"Those posts are very intentional. I don't want them to win," she explains about the type of things she shares on her social media platforms. "It's not fair for them to try to control my life. Yeah, I'm insecure sometimes, but so is everybody. Yeah, I made mistakes, but so does everybody."

Other than social media, she also hopes to translate her true persona through the emotions in her music and lyrics.

Selena Gomez, Flare

Courtesy Flare

"My strength is translating emotion, because I'm such a feeler," she tells the magazine. "I've felt so much in the past two years, from being super in love and then dealing with things to getting older and all these beautiful experiences that were complicated and exciting."

She adds, "I have compassion, I have forgiveness, I have understanding, and this is my life—this is how I choose to live it. I've never been disappointed in the choices I've made, which I'm proud of."

One of those (very public) decisions she doesn't regret is getting back together with Justin Bieber quite a few times. Though she's already said those days are far behind her, the media continuously interviews her on the subject, and tabloids are always conjuring up new drama between them.

"It was frustrating to see how the media was portraying me," she admits. "It was defamation of character."

Selena Gomez, Flare

Courtesy Flare

Not only is Gomez over that same old love (if you will), but she's really not seeking anything romantic at all right now.

She explains, "I go on dates. It's not that difficult—I'm a nice young lady [laughs]—but that's not my focus. I'm really stoked about being with myself right now."

She especially doesn't need a boyfriend when she has a bestie like Taylor Swift encouraging her and helping her along the crazy roller coaster we call life.

"Taylor has such a beautiful way of bringing people together," Gomez says. "That was good for me, because the more I started working, the more uncomfortable I was. I wouldn't trust people, and Taylor has a way of stripping down everything and just getting down to being human. I love that."

But friendships and relationships and fame and careers aside, Gomez is just like the rest of us: "Ultimately, I am 23 and figuring out my life. I feel confident, I feel empowered, I feel in control."

You go, girl!

Catch Gomez's full story in Flare, on newsstands Oct. 12.

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