Selena Gomez may run Instagram’s most-followed celebrity account, but that popularity doesn’t make her any less susceptible to a social media cleanse or two. Gomez opened up about her social media habits to The New York Times, revealing that trolls drive her off the Instagram app once a week, at least.
As Gomez explained, the level of cruelty she encounters in Instagram comments goes way beyond normal criticism. “I delete the app from my phone at least once a week. [Brittle laugh] You fixate on the [negative] ones. They’re not like, ‘You’re ugly.’ It’s like they want to cut to your soul. Imagine all the insecurities that you already feel about yourself and having someone write a paragraph pointing out every little thing—even if it’s just physical,” she says.
While these days Gomez isn’t leaving the app for too long each time, she did take a three-month Instagram hiatus last year. She recently told Vogue that she no longer posts to the app herself, leaving the password in the possession of her assistant. But giving away the keys to the kingdom doesn’t make her blind to people’s attacks.
And while going off the grid a bit is a temporary fix, it’s no wonder that Gomez seems to have some feelings of yearning for the pre-Instagram days. As she explains, while she grew up a child star, the negative attention wasn’t quite so potent before social media. She remembers, “When I was on Wizards of Waverly Place, we didn’t have social media really. Twitter had just begun. Every Friday, I’d get to do a live taping in front of all these little kids and make their life. That’s when I was the happiest. Then, as I got older, I watched it go from zero to a hundred.”
Still, while the app may come and go, Gomez doesn’t say anything about leaving her account behind. No surprise there, though; it’s a huge platform for her, and recently it’s become integral to her marketing of Thirteen Reasons Why, which she worked on as a producer for years. The Netflix show examines the disastrous behavior that surrounds a girl’s suicide; while it has yet to premiere, the Jay Asher book on which it is based strongly indicted the culture of bullying. The topic is as relevant as ever. According to the CDC, 20 percent of high school teens have been bullied, while 70 percent have witnessed it happen. Given Gomez’s social media encounters, it’s easy to see what made Thirteen Reasons Why a good fit.
Gomez, as it turns out, is not the only young celeb with a difficult relationship with the social media network. At some point last year “delete your account,” turned from an insult into a call for self-care. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Justin Bieber have all taken breaks from one account or another to benefit their mental state in the past year.