TFK first interviewed Selena Gomez in 2007, when she was 15 years old. Back then, the Texas native was just starting out on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, her music career hadn’t even begun and she was far from being a household name. Fast-forward just four short years, and Gomez is one of the world’s most recognizable young stars.
This year has been exceptional for the multitalented 19-year-old. In addition to wrapping up filming on the final season of Wizards, Gomez is enjoying a thriving career as a music artist. In June, she and her band, Selena Gomez & the Scene, released their third and most successful album, When the Sun Goes Down. The dance/pop record debuted at Number 4 on the music charts, rising to Number 3 the following week. It has since gone gold in the U.S. and Canada, and platinum in Poland. The teen idol closes her sold-out nationwide tour in December.
But even with her busy schedule, Gomez always makes time for charity work. The actress was the spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign from 2008 to 2010. In 2009, at 17 years old, the teen became the youngest person ever to be appointed an ambassador for UNICEF. Gomez uses her star power to raise awareness of childhood education and clean water programs in developing countries.
Born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, the Hispanic-American actress got her start on Barney and Friends before skyrocketing to fame on the Emmy Award–winning Wizards. For her music and acting talents, and for her tireless work with UNICEF, Selena Gomez is a nominee for TFK's 2011 Person of the Year.