Entertainment TV & Film Biography of Selena Gomez, Popular Singer and Actress Selena Got Her Big Break From Disney Share PINTEREST Email Print Matt Winkelmeyer/Staff/Getty Images TV & Film TV Shows Comedies Dramas Shows For Kids Movies By Carey Bryson Updated on 02/24/19 Selena Gomez is a big star in television, movies, and music. Besides starring in popular shows, she also has had several songs top the Billboard charts. Background of Selena Gomez Gomez was born on July 22, 1992. An only child, she grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her mother had been an actress herself, and Gomez wanted to follow in her footsteps. Her grandparents helped raise her, and entered her in pageants when she was a child. Gomez loved watching her mom get ready for her own performances and dreamed of being like her. Her big break as an actress came when she seven years old and was cast on Barney & Friends, where she met her best friend Demi Lovato. It was her very first acting role. Selena played Gianna on Barney & Friends for two seasons. She had a few other acting roles as a child, but her big break wouldn't come until later. Noticed by Disney Selena was discovered by Disney in a worldwide casting search in 2004 and played a pop star in the hit show, Hannah Montana. Before starring in her own series, she played guest roles in two popular Disney shows, The Suite Life of Zack & Coday and Wizards of Waverly Place. Wizards of Waverly Place, in which Selena plays lead character Alex Russo, premiered on the Disney Channel in October 2007. In addition to her acting career, Selena has also broken into the music industry. She performs the theme song and other music from Wizards of Waverly Place, and she covered the hit Disney song, "Cruella De Vil." In recent years, she has become a pop star in her own right, outside of the Disney universe. She has toured the United States to promote her songs, and her albums have been huge Top 40 hits. Gomez Today While Gomez got her start acting, her efforts today are primarily focused on the music industry. Her music has influences from pop, hip-hop, and electronic rock. She has said she is influenced by pop icons like Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. She also is involved in a number of brand campaigns. She represents Pantene shampoo and conditioners, Coca-Cola products, Adidas, and Coach handbags. Selena Gomez as a Role Model Since Gomez entered the spotlight, she has worked hard to give back to the community. While filming Wizards of Waverly Place, Gomez got involved with Island Dog, an organization dedicated to helping dogs in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, there is an animal crisis, with thousands of homeless dogs roaming the streets and starving. Because shelters are not common, they often go hungry. Gomez helped raise money for the organization and became an ambassador of the program. She is also a spokesperson for UNICEF, holding a benefit concert for the organization. She was particularly involved in projects that helped Chile. She toured the country herself and helped raise money for programs that would help impoverished children and families.