“Oh, hey, girl,” Selena Gomez says, leaning over for a hug when I join her in the massive outdoor living room of a gorgeous house in the Hollywood Hills. The triple threat is sitting cross-legged on a shag rug, lounging in menswear-inspired clothes from today’s cover shoot, her fourth forTeen Vogue. For someone who has had one of the biggest professional years of her life—her first solo album, Stars Dance, which debuted at number one on the charts; her first number one single, “Come & Get It”; and a breakout role in the risqué indie Spring Breakers—Selena is remarkably contemplative. “I’m 21, so now I’ve entered the decade of confusion about who I am and what I want to do with my life, and that’s what this entire decade’s going to be,” she tells me. She’s changed even since she graced our September 2012 cover, and her newfound maturity has sharpened her wit and enhanced her calm. Throughout her rise up the ranks of superstardom, the Texas native has remained down-to-earth—thanks to, she says, her network of honest friends and family, especially her mom, Mandy. “I’m pretty lucky. That’s for sure. I mean, we’re typical Gilmore girls: Half the time she’ll annoy me, and half the time I’ll annoy her,” Selena says, laughing. She’s getting ready to head into the U.S. leg of her Stars Dance tour after having a blast with her BFFs on the European part, but Selena took time out of her busy schedule to talk about her junk food obsession, flying solo with her girls (no parents, no boyfriend, no problem!), and why she’s not afraid to admit she’s a total romantic.
On being a hopeless romantic:
“You fall in love and it completely consumes you. So a part of you is broken when that’s gone. And part of you wants to have that rebellious feeling where you’re just like, forget it—I can do anything I want. I’ve tried it, and I’ve never been that girl. I’m always going to be the girl you want to take home to your parents, not for the night.”
On her weakness for junk food:
“I eat junk. I’m from the South, so I love Mexican food, greasy pasta, and fried things. I do try, every now and then, to put something in my body that will be good, but, honestly, I’ve never liked working out. I need to be active in some way, though—that’s why I kind of secretly do it for my show. We have thirteen choreographed pieces, and it’s a 90-minute set. I consider that my workout!”
On Taylor Swift:
“The difference between Taylor and me is she was sixteen with the confidence of a 25-year-old. Actually, I should say 80-year-old, because she’s such an old soul. I was not that way. I was very sheltered until about eighteen or nineteen. I still live at home, and I’m 21! She does inspire me like crazy, but I wouldn’t change my path, because it allowed me to figure out all that stuff and do it on my own.”