Selena Gomez

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

Will Selena Gomez's new album suffer because of her ex boyfriend's recent behavior?
—B.G.X., via Twitter

Selena Gomez, that cute li'l former Disney punkinhead, indeed suffered a tiny stumble this week. Her new song, "Rule the World" came out, with lyrics including a possible audio slap for Justin Bieber. Trouble is, her people say: That song was actually leaked. Oops!

Overall, Gomez is still looking pretty shiny next to her ex Bieber or even Taylor Swift. (After all, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler aren't cracking jokes about Gomez.) But could she use an image makeover?

Definitely, experts say, even though she's been stepping out all over looking super fashionable and on-the-ball.

Here's why, and what she needs to do—stat—to stay famous:

With a new album, her movie Spring Breakers getting all kinds of buzz at SXSW, and an (apparently) clean break from Justin Bieber on her list of recent achievements, it would seem that Gomez doesn't need much help right now.

But her fame is, in fact, much more delicate than it looks.

"She's is in that weird transition of going from that sweet little wholesome girl to more of a woman image," crisis PR consultant Cherie Kerr tells me. "I don't know if it's going to be a smooth as Natalie Portman's."

Or, as rough as say, Britney Spears' or Miley Cyrus', whose matriculations suffered from the occasional ill-advised photo or outfit.

So what should Gomez do instead?

Selena Gomez


1. Go All Idol: "She needs to become a judge on a reality competition show," Kerr insists. Why? "With, say, Nicki Minaj, you didn't really know much about her, but since American Idol, everybody really likes her. She's a character. That kind of deal is one of the strongest presences you can get today."

2. Be Seen: Gomez also needs to "get out there more." The photos taken on the set of her new video show a more sophisticated Gomez; we need to see more of that, Kerr says.

3. Get Glossy: To that end: Magazine covers! Gomez already has scored a ton of ‘em, of course--Latina, Teen Vogue, Seventeen. But only this month did she score a major fashion coup: The cover of Harper's Bazaar. More high-end mags like that will go a long way.

Selena Gomez

4. Keep Climbing: A luxury brand or high fashion endorsement would definitely help, too. Right now Gomez has a deal with Adidas that lasts through 2015. But a sophisticated partnership, like Mila Kunis and Jennifer Lawrence inked with Dior, might make Gomez look less like a kid and more like a powerhouse who can stand on her own.

5. Don't Look Back: And speaking of standing on her own: The one thing Gomez has to do, more than anything else, Kerr says, is distance herself from ex Justin Bieber.

"People are gunning for him and waiting for him to make his next mistake," she explains. "She needs to move away from that. Never look back."

Sounds good to me!

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