Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress, singer, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who is best known for her contributions in the role of Alex Russo to the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel 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 and made her theatrical film debut in Ramona and Beezus.
Enhancing her repertoire into the music industry, Gomez is the lead singer for the pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene who, together, have released two studio albums Kiss & Tell and A Year Without Rain. She has also contributed to the soundtracks of Tinker Bell, Another Cinderella Story and Wizards of Waverly Place after signing a record deal with Hollywood Records.
Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas to Ricardo Gomez and former stage actress Mandy Teefey (née Cornett). Her father is Mexican American and her mother is of half Italian descent. Her birth parents divorced when she was five years old, and she was raised as an only child by her working mother. In 2006, Mandy remarried Brian Teefey. She is named after Tejano singer Selena. In a 2009 interview with People, Gomez mentioned that she developed an early interest in acting from watching her mother prepare for and act in theater productions. She earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010.