Selena Gomez Discusses Speaking Her Mind on Instagram and Leading a Beauty Brand Focused on Mental Health

Selena Gomez is committed to Rare Beauty, she said at an event in New York City on Wednesday. Gomez launched the vegan and cruelty free makeup line in September 2020, and it has since amassed a valuation of $2 billion, a figure that led to high expectations for Rare Beauty’s immediate future.

“I don’t think I’m going anywhere. I am enjoying this a little too much,” the actor and musician said, adding that Rare Beauty is her “pride and joy.” Gomez was joined on stage by Elyse Cohen, Vice President of Social Impact and Inclusion at Rare Beauty, for a discussion titled The Beauty of Impact, moderated by TIME senior editor Lucy Feldman in New York City.

“I didn’t want to really enter the cosmetics world without a mission,” Gomez, 31, said of her decision to launch Rare Beauty. First and foremost is the brand’s focus on building a community to freely discuss mental health. “It was actually a dream that kind of happened within this brand, and on top of it we were able to make hopefully decent products.”

Gomez is personally committed to furthering conversations around mental health, by talking about her own journey. The actor, who had an early entry into the entertainment industry when she was seven years old, before becoming a household name starring in Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place, currently stars on hit comedy crime television show , which airs its fourth season this summer. She also has a prolific career as a Grammy-nominated pop musician, with three studio albums to her name. In her 2020 documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, she shared that she’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a decision she said was “freeing.”

“All these confusing things were happening,” Gomez said on stage. “Once I finally found the answer, it wasn’t ‘Oh, I have this problem.’ It actually made me feel better to know and understand what was happening in my mind.”

Gomez says the single most important thing she does for her own mental health is to seek out alone time. Cohen, who also serves as president of the Rare Impact Fund, the beauty brand’s commitment to youth mental health awareness, said her mental health priorities are two-fold: Her first is to surround herself with people who uplift her, she said. Her second is to find power in telling our own stories.

“Once you start to share a tiny bit, you just realize how much less alone you are and how so many of us are more alike than we are different,” she said. Cohen added that the Rare Impact Fund has raised more than $13 million since its launch, which supports 26 organizations in supporting young people. Before a single product was sold, Gomez pledged that 1% of all sales, not profits, would go towards mental health action. Rare Beauty channels also drive its followers toward mindful resources, rather than just products.

“We have such an opportunity to bring the gift of someone like Selena, a new brand, and an issue that was coming to the headlines,” Cohen said.

Gomez added that the community Rare Beauty has built is what sets the brand apart from its competitors: “That is what makes me happy every night when I go to sleep because it’s mission driven.”

During the conversation on Wednesday morning, Gomez also opened up about her relationship with social media: “I find it frustrating. Then I get a little mouthy and I want to defend the people I love.” The most-followed woman on Instagram, with 429 million followers, Gomez has had her ups and downs with the platform. “I took four years off of Instagram, and I let my team post for me for those years. I felt like it was the most rewarding gift I gave myself,” she said.

The TIME100 Summit convenes leaders from the global TIME100 community to spotlight solutions and encourage action toward a better world. This year’s summit features a variety of speakers across a diverse range of sectors, including politics, business, health and science, culture, and more.

Speakers for the 2024 TIME 100 Summit include actor Elliot Page, designer Tory Burch, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, WNBA champion A’ja Wilson, author Margaret Atwood, NYSE president Lynn Martin, comedian Alex Edelman, professor Yoshua Bengio, 68th Secretary of State John Kerry, actor Jane Fonda, and many more.

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