SELENA GOMEZ IS NAMED AFTER A POP STAR. Her mom Mandy was only 16 years old and surely had Selena Quintanilla-Pérez ringing like a miracle from every tape deck in her possession in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Tejano star was 21 at the time, the height of her power, and would be shot dead not three years later at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi, crawling for the lobby at midnight, while six hours away, Selena Gomez was toddling through dreamland. Eighteen years, six months, and seven days later, she’s 21 herself, finishing up a rehearsal for her world tour in a cropped black top and capri sweats and fronting eight dancers at Millennium Dance Complex in the valley, each smiling in a way that is both comforting and inviting, as if welcoming the viewer to partake in a fully stocked buffet line of human joy.
Of all the gifts given during her very own quinceañera episode on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, one is not, sadly, a medal displaying her patron, the individual destined to guide you through life, the one you pray to when you’re not praying to God. What’s more, your patron can define your life; it would say a lot if Selena Gomez was linked to, say, Saint Genesius, a comedian working in Rome around the third century AD, who was tortured and beheaded when the emperor found he was earnestly receiving the sacrament during a satirical play.
“Text me!” Selena Gomez calls back to her dancers as they leave the rehearsal space.