ELLE’s September 2021 issue is the brand’s first-ever Latinx issue, featuring cover star and guest editor Selena Gomez, on newsstands August 31st.
Heading into National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), the issue is a celebration of the Latinx community and has been a longtime passion project for Editor in Chief Nina Garcia, the first Latina at the helm of a major American fashion magazine.
The issue kicks off with cover star Selena Gomez, who embraced her Latinx heritage in her work in a big way this year, releasing her first Spanish-language album, Revelación and producing and starring in the upcoming biopic In the Shadow of the Mountain, about Peruvian mountain climber Silvia Vásquez-Lavado. Refreshingly open about her struggles with lupus and her bipolar disorder diagnosis, she tells Carina Chocano that every time she went through something challenging, she told herself, “‘You’re going to help people,’ That’s really what kept me going…After I’m gone, I want people to remember me for my heart.”
Selena on the challenges she’s faced over the last decade and why knowing she was helping others kept her going: “My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks—these were all things that honestly should have taken me down. Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with? You’re going to help people.’ That’s really what kept me going. There could have been a time when I wasn’t strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself.”
On deleting Instagram from her phone in 2017 and handing the reins (and passwords) of her social media accounts to her assistant: “I don’t have it on my phone, so there’s no temptation. I suddenly had to learn how to be with myself. That was annoying, because in the past, I could spend hours looking at other people’s lives. I would find myself down nearly two years in someone’s feed, and then I’d realize, ‘I don’t even know this person!’ Now I get information the proper way. When my friends have something to talk about, they call me and say, ‘Oh, I did this.’ They don’t say, ‘Wait, did you see my post?’”
On what she wants to be remembered by and how that has shifted her focus: She asked herself, “What’s the purpose of this?” Visiting kids in hospital wards, having fans come up to her to say how “Lose You to Love Me” has helped them through a divorce—these things meant more to her than say, posting a random picture of her nails. “I’m like, ‘I’ve got to do something [more]. After I’m gone, I want people to remember me for my heart.’ Everything that I’m attached to has a charity aspect. If something good isn’t coming out of it, I’m not going to do it. I don’t need money, I need people who want to fight with me.”
On putting out Revelación, her first record in Spanish: “It was a challenge. I think speaking in Spanish is a lot easier than singing.” But with a bit more time on her hands than usual, Gomez was able to work with a Spanish coach and really nail it. “I made sure that I didn’t look like a fool. I focused so hard on making sure that the language I was speaking, and the way I was speaking it, was authentic. I wanted it to exude love—to talk about pain, but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren’t good for us.”
On why she’ll never quit making music: “I don’t think I’ll ever quit making music,” she says. But, she admits, she does still feel like she’s constantly trying to prove herself. “I’m not saying I want a Grammy. I just feel like I’m doing the best I can, and it’s all about me. Sometimes, that can really get to me.” Music, unlike acting, is so personal, she says: “You’re pouring yourself out.”
Cover: T-shirt, Skirt, Jacket (on bed), Choker, $975,and Belt by Chanel | Necklace and Rings by Cartier | Fishnets by Falke | Mules by Giuseppe Zanotti
Image 1: Sweater and Choker by Chanel | Earring by Cartier
Image 2: Bodysuit by Brandon Maxwell | Fishnets by Wolford | Beret by Eugenia Kim | Sunglasse by Parley for the Oceans | Mules by Amina Muaddi
Image 3: Cropped Sweater and Hot Pants by Alessandra Rich | Earrin and Rings by Cartier | Safety Pin Necklace by Mikimoto x Comme des Garçons | Fishnets by Falke | Mules by Comme des Garçons
Hair by Orlando Pita
Makeup by Hung Vanngo
Nails by Lisa Peña-Wong
[Photo Credit: Inez & Vinoodh/ELLE Magazine]