Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress and singer best known for portraying Alex Russo, the protagonist in the Emmy Award-winning television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She subsequently ventured into feature films and has starred in the television movies Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and Princess Protection Program. She made her starring theatrical film debut in Ramona and Beezus.
Her career has expanded into the music industry; Gomez is the lead singer and founder of the pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene, which has released three RIAA Gold certified studio albums, Kiss & Tell, A Year Without Rain, and When the Sun Goes Down, spawned three RIAA Platinum certified singles, "Naturally", "Who Says" and "Love You Like a Love Song" and charted four No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs. Gomez has also contributed to the soundtracks of Tinker Bell, Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Shake It Up after signing a record deal with Hollywood Records.
In 2008, Gomez was designated as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
In 2004, Gomez was discovered by the Disney Channel in a USA-wide scouting. Gomez appeared as a guest star on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and had a guest appearance – that later turned into a recurring role – on Hannah Montana from seasons two to three. Gomez previously taped two different pilots that were spin-offs to two previous Disney series. The first one, What's Stevie Thinking?, was the spin-off to Lizzie McGuire. Gomez played Stevie Sanchez, Miranda Sanchez's little sister. The other show was titled Arwin!, the spin-off to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, in which she played Alexa. Neither series was picked up.
In early 2007, Gomez was cast in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place as one of the three main characters, Alex Russo. The show premiered to an audience of 5.9 million, becoming a hit. Many news outlets began dubbing Gomez the next 'Miley Cyrus' causing some controversy and a reported 'feud'. Gomez clarified that there was no feud and that she was flattered by the comparison, saying: "It's a little overwhelming, but I think really, it's a compliment. She's obviously extremely successful, and I think she's a wonderful performer ... So being compared to her, I was very, very flattered." Gomez recorded four songs, one of which was a cover, for the Wizards of Waverly Place soundtrack, only one single (Magic) from the album was released. In 2008, Gomez recorded a cover of "Cruella de Vil"—which included a music video—for the compilation album DisneyMania 6. Gomez also recorded "Fly to Your Heart" for the 2008 animated film Tinker Bell. In July 2008, before Gomez' sixteenth birthday, she signed a recording deal with Hollywood Records, a music label owned by Disney. The same year Gomez began a brief relationship with Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers which ended that same year.. In May, of the same year, Gomez was featured, with Forever the Sickest Kids, on a duet version of the non-album song "Whoa Oh!". The same year Gomez appeared in Another Cinderella Story, the direct-to-DVD sequel to the 2004 Hilary Duff film, opposite Drew Seeley. She also had a minor voiceover role as one the Mayor's ninety-six daughters in Horton Hears a Who! which released in March of that year. In April, Lacey Rose, of Forbes ranked Gomez as being fifth on their "Eight Hot Kid Stars To Watch" list; and Rose described Gomez as having been "a multitalented teen". Gomez recorded three songs for the movie's soundtrack.