Selena Gomez opens up about bikini photos of herself during Australia trip

Selena Gomez has opened up about how widely-published paparazzi photos from her trip to Sydney, Australia in 2018 impacted her body image struggles.

The former Disney Channel star, now 31, was seen wearing a bikini while relaxing on a yacht in candid photos taken in March of that year.

But the talking point among social media trolls became about the scars on her body following her kidney transplant surgery in 2017, and her naturally-changing shape as she began to enter her mid ‘20s.

To make things more difficult, Gomez had only just weeks earlier split from Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, whom she had been on-and-off with for a decade. In July, Bieber proposed to his now-wife, Hailey Bieber.

Speaking toFast Company, Gomez explained how negative comments she received over the photos forced her to break her social media hiatus (an assistant has been posting on her behalf since 2017, which was unknown to fans until fairly recently).

The US singer was made aware of criticism to the paparazzi photos, and took to Instagram shortly afterwards to call out society’s unachievable beauty standards.

“The beauty myth — an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfil society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty,” she wrote.

Prior to those photos, and following her surgery, Gomez told Fast Company she had already been grappling with body image issues after going through an uncomfortable magazine photo shoot fitting, where she realised she no longer had a “teenager’s body”.

“None of the sample sizes were fitting, and that would make me feel embarrassed,” she said in her interview. “Although, how unrealistic is it to expect a normal woman’s body not to change?”

Of her decision to step away from Instagram – where she’s the most followed female in the world – Gomez added, “I had just gotten my heart broken. I didn’t need to see what everyone was doing.

“Then there were those moments of not feeling positive about how I looked because of what I’d see on Instagram. ‘Wow, I wish my body looked like that’.”

Gomez, who has long been transparent about her mental health struggles, was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which she revealed to her fans in 2020.

“I went through a really hard season. It was my highs and my lows, and I didn’t know what to do, so I couldn’t control it,” she told the publication.

“I would want to cancel things. It was just a tormented feeling.

“That’s why, when I found out my [bipolar] diagnosis, it was just, ‘Oh, okay, I feel a bit relieved, I understand a bit more.’ I got second opinions. I went to doctors. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have people who can help me survive every day.”

The star, who shot to fame as a teenager, said she was in a much better place these days, working on her first album in three years and focusing on her hugely-successful cosmetics company, Rare Beauty.

A key lesson she’s learned over years of hardship has been to take pride in her choices.

“If it ends up being a mistake, it’s your mistake to learn from. Take a lesson from that. Does it make you feel good? Does it not? Evaluate and get to know yourself as much as you can,” she said.

“But I would never say don’t do something, because I don’t live with regrets.

“I can relate to a whole sea of beautiful human beings, because I’ve walked through some really tough moments, and now I’m on the other side.”

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