Today in inexplicably healthy social media interactions: Selena Gomez dropped an emotional message to her fans on TikTok. In the decade between her 20th and 30th birthdays, the singer and actress has endured a wide array of high-profile turbulence: the end of the Disney Channel show that shot her to fame, lupus and bipolar disorder diagnoses, the release of multiple hit solo albums, several social media breaks, multiple dramatic breakups, the launch of a Hulu show and an HBO Max show, the creation of her beauty brand and mental health fund, and—through it all—the steadfast attention of a committed fanbase.
Once the most-followed user on Instagram, she handed off her passwords and accounts to her assistant in 2017, taking a long break from internet infamy. But since returning—in particular as a beloved presence on TikTok—she’s made it clear she’ll only post when it’s in good, healthy fun. But after turning 30 on July 22, her latest TikTok took a noticeable departure from her usual self-deprecating content.
“Okay, I don’t really talk on TikTok, so this is a bit weird,” she admitted as she started recording. “I wanted to say thank you so much to every person that wished me a happy birthday. I got to see some of your messages; I don’t read a lot of comments but the few that I read were really, really sweet, and I just want you to know that I don’t take that for granted.” At this point, her eyes filled with tears.
“I also want to thank everyone who did contribute, even just a penny, to the Rare Impact Fund,” she continued, referencing the mental health fund she launched in conjunction with her beauty brand. “I could not be more grateful. And I’m 30, and I’m so far enjoying it, and I just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being in my life, for growing up with me. For putting up with me. [Laughs.] Thank you guys so much, and I hope you have a wonderful evening, night, day, morning, wherever you are.”
Fans poured into the comments to thank her for “quite literally raising us,” “for helping us grow,” and for being the “most humble queen in Hollywood.” Added another: “Wasn’t prepared to sob on a Thursday afternoon.” After a cursory scroll, I couldn’t find a single unkind comment directed toward Gomez, and that, my friends, is what we call a social media miracle! But it’s the kind of interaction Gomez has worked hard to foster, apparently through a lot of intentional mental health work.
“Have had a moment to catch up,” Gomez wrote in an Instagram post after her 30th birthday. “Though there are so many words to say I’ll simply leave it at this. My twenties were a journey through good, hard and beautiful moments that I will never forget. Each of them has shaped me into the person that I am today. I am someone who is still learning, but is more certain about what matters and what she wants. Someone who is grateful for every single gift and every single lesson along the way. I am walking forward encouraged by so many strong, empowering people around me.. I want to try my best to take the beautiful and the painful one day at a time and let it all make me into the very best me that I can be for myself/others/you. After a few days of celebrating, my heart feels full, grateful and I can say that I’m starting to really like 30. Thank you SO much for being a part of my life, here’s to another decade! Love you all inside and out so much it hurts!” Cue the happy tears; Alex Russo is doing just fine, folks.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.