Selena Gomez's Career Evolution: From Disney Darling To Global Pop Star

6 July 2022, 17:06 | Updated: 15 July 2022, 16:10

Selena Gomez's career evolution from Disney to global stardom
Selena Gomez's career evolution from Disney to global stardom. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Savannah Roberts

Selena Gomez has had an extraordinarily vibrant career over the past 20 years – let's take a look at her evolution from her days in the Disney machine to her domination in the world of music, film and TV...

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Selena Gomez is undeniably one of the biggest pop stars of the moment – but she's so much more than that!

At just 29-year-old, Selena has taken on many roles throughout her already two-decade-long career, whether that's making waves as an actress, singer, executive producer, business owner or philanthropist, this star has proved that she's a powerhouse in the biz.

Selena Gomez Is Officially Working On Her Next Album

Let's take a look at the 'Rare' songstress' career, from her humble beginnings in television to her pop world domination...

Selena Gomez has carved out a seriously impressive career in her 29 years
Selena Gomez has carved out a seriously impressive career in her 29 years. Picture: Alamy/Getty

2002: Selena Gomez gets her start in showbiz with children's show Barney & Friends

Before the movies, records and beauty lines, Selena got her start in show business with her first-ever acting role on the children's television series Barney & Friends – and she was just 10 years old!

Little Sel portrayed the character Gianna on the show for two years and even met her future Disney pal Demi Lovato during the audition!

Glimmers of Gomez's future in music can be seen from her Barney & Friends days as she sang on songs like 'It's A Fun, Fun Sunny Day' – little did we know what was to come musically for the young star...

Selena Gomez has been in the biz since she was just 10 years old
Selena Gomez has been in the biz since she was just 10 years old. Picture: Selena Gomez/Instagram

2007: Selena Gomez becomes a Disney darling with Wizards of Waverly Place

As Selena got older her star power only grew, she landed roles in several children's films before she bagged a career-changing gig within the Disney machine!

After guest appearances on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Hannah Montana in 2006, Selena landed her very own show on the Disney Channel the following year, the fan-favourite show we all know and love to this day, Wizards of Waverly Place.

At just 15 years old, Selena fronted the magical series with her portrayal of the iconically sassy character Alex Russo, she worked on the wildly successful project until 2012.

Gomez began her burgeoning film career during this time, acting in titles from The Princess Protection Programme (in which she co-starred with friend Demi Lovato) to Another Cinderella Story.

Selena Gomez fronted Disney's mega-hit show Wizards of Waverly Place
Selena Gomez fronted Disney's mega-hit show Wizards of Waverly Place. Picture: Alamy

2009: Selena kicks off her music career with Selena Gomez & the Scene

And if she wasn't already dominating the acting world, Selena was about to make her mark on the music world too!

In 2009, the Disney darling formed the band Selena Gomez & the Scene and with that, she sparked a series of events that would lead to long-serving pop stardom.

Selena Gomez & the Scene released music from 2009 to 2011
Selena Gomez & the Scene released music from 2009 to 2011. Picture: Alamy

The band hit the ground running with hits like 'Naturally', 'Who Says' and 'Love You Like A Love Song' – she was really bashing out bops from day one!

Selena Gomez & the Scene released an album every year from 2009, 'Kiss & Tell', 'A Year Without Rain' and 'When the Sun Goes Down' before they disbanded in 2012.

2010: Selena begins to carve a path as one of Hollywood's leading ladies

Just because Selena was dominating music doesn't mean she was neglecting her thespian roots!

She continued acting in comedies aimed at young teens such as Ramona and Beezus (2010) and Monte Carlo (2011) before taking a departure from her squeaky-clean image with Spring Breakers in 2012.

The star took on a mature role with the edgy crime film, steering her away from the tween demographic and marketing her as a serious actress with an impressive range.

Selena went on to work on titles such as the drama Rudderless (2014), indie flick The Fundamentals of Caring (2016), comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) and rom-com A Rainy Day in New York (2019).

Selena Gomez began acting in Hollywood films such as Monte Carlo in 2011
Selena Gomez began acting in Hollywood films such as Monte Carlo in 2011. Picture: IMDB
Selena Gomez broke the mould when she was cast in Spring Breakers
Selena Gomez broke the mould when she was cast in Spring Breakers. Picture: Muse Productions

2013: Selena Gomez breaks out as a solo pop star

After the split of Selena Gomez & The Scene, the multi-faceted young star went solo!

The release of her debut single 'Come & Get It' in 2013 marked the beginning of her reign as a bonafide pop sensation.

In 2013, at just 20 years old, she shed her darling image and released the 'Stars Dance' album, showcasing racier lyrics and a more dance-pop style.

Selena Gomez forges a career as a pop star in the 2010s
Selena Gomez forges a career as a pop star in the 2010s. Picture: Alamy

Her sophomore album 'Revival', released two years later, followed this trend – with Selena even stating in recent months that she regrets posing nude on the album's cover art.

The SG2 era saw inescapable bops such as 'Same Old Love', 'Hands To Myself' and 'It Ain't Me' – what a time!

She released her sophomore album 'Revival' in 2015
She released her sophomore album 'Revival' in 2015. Picture: Selena Gomez/Artwork

2017: Selena returns to television and takes on roles as executive producer

No rest for the wicked! Selena has never been one to leave one of the branches of her career alone for too long.

In 2017 she made a return to television but this time as an executive producer! Alongside her mother, Selena produced Netflix's mega-hit drama 13 Reasons Why.

In the years that followed, the actress-turned-producer took on this role with several other projects, such as her cooking show Selena + Chef, a couple of independent films as well as the latest comedy the actress has starred in – speaking of...

Selena Gomez added executive producing to her long list of talents in 2017
Selena Gomez added executive producing to her long list of talents in 2017. Picture: Getty

Selena Gomez took on her first scripted television role since Wizards of Waverly Place when she signed up for Hulu show Only Murders in the Building in 2021.

The mystery-comedy has been hit among fans, with many expressing their joy at seeing Selena on television screens once more. OMITB returned for a second season the following year, with the star reprising her role as Mabel Mora and acting alongside comedy kings Steve Martin and Martin Short.

2020 - 2023: Selena Gomez promises more music after her mega-hit third record

It's fair to say that between music, television and film, Selena is one busy woman! After five years since her last record, the songstress released 'Rare', a dance-pop album that spawned hits with 'Lose You to Love Me' as well as its self-titled track.

2020 also saw the launch of her very own make-up line Rare Beauty – which led fans to worry about the status of the singer's fourth studio album.

Selena Gomez promises that her fourth album is on the way
Selena Gomez promises that her fourth album is on the way. Picture: Selena Gomez/Instagram

However, she has made it clear to her Selenators that she is, in fact, working on new material  – we're so ready!

In May of this year, Selena revealed on Deadline's Crew Call podcast that she's broken ground on SG4, she said: "I am in L.A. working on my album now."

The music sensation even hinted she could make a return to the road, stating: "I am open to a tour, 1,000 per cent."

Will 2023 be the year Selena continues her pop domination? We hope so.

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