The Only Murders in the Building star, 31, recently took to Instagram to share a throwback photo of herself in a bikini. Along with the image, she shared an important message about body image and how she’s “proud” of her changing appearance.
“Today, I realised I will never look like this again…” Gomez wrote over a picture of herself in a zebra bikini. The original image was taken in 2013, when she was 21 years old.
The Disney Channel alum then shared a second photo of herself, this time from January last year while she was vacationing in Mexico. Gomez was pictured wearing a white bandeau Myra Swim bikini top and Skims black bottoms, as she wrote over the photo: “I’m not perfect but I am proud to be who I am… sometimes I forget it’s okay to be me.”
Gomez has previously been candid about her body image and changes to her appearance, particularly after she was diagnosed with lupus in 2014. The “Wolves” singer, who underwent a kidney transplant for the autoimmune disease in 2017, explained that her weight often fluctuates as a result of the medication she takes for the condition.
“When I’m off of it, I tend to lose weight,” she told fans in a TikTok Live last February. “I just wanted to say and encourage anyone out there who feels any sort of shame for exactly what they’re going through, and no one knows the real story.”
She continued: “I just want people to know that you’re beautiful, and you’re wonderful. Yeah, we have days where maybe we feel like s***, but I would rather be healthy and take care of myself. My medications are important, and I believe that they’re what helps me.”
Gomez added that she was “not a model” and she “never will be,” adding: “I just wanted to tell you I love you guys, and thanks for supporting me and understanding. And if not, go away, because honestly I don’t believe in shaming people for [their appearance] or anything.”
Despite revealing that her weight “would constantly fluctuate” due to her lupus medication, that didn’t stop critics from making comments about her body. In an episode of the Apple TV+ docuseries Dear… last March, Gomez revealed that she cried her “eyes out” after reading body-shaming comments.
“People just ran with it,” Gomez said. “It was like they couldn’t wait to find a thing to bring me down. I was being shamed for gaining weight because of my lupus.”
While the “Rare” singer confessed at the time that the remarks didn’t bother her, she admitted that it was actually the opposite. “I lied, I would go online and I would post a picture of myself and I would say: ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m not accepting what you’re saying,’” she explained in response to the criticism. “All the while being in the room posting that, crying my eyes out, because nobody deserves to hear those things.”
She continued: “I was posting these things, saying it doesn’t bother me because I didn’t want it to bother other people who are experiencing the same thing, getting shamed for what they look like, who they are, who they love. I just think it’s so unfair. I don’t think that anybody deserves to feel less than.”
Not only has Gomez been open about her body image, but she’s also been a strong advocate for mental health awareness with her non-profit organisation, Rare Impact Fund - which works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and expand access to mental health services and education for young people.
The “Single Soon” singer recently explained how being transparent about her mental health has had one of the “biggest positive impacts” on her. In an interview with her mental fitness publication, Wondermind, last October, Gomez said: “When I decided to be open about my mental health, people began to reach out and share their stories. Listening and connecting was the biggest gift because you feel less alone.”
She noted that although she’s been open about her mental health, she’s still working on improving her wellbeing. “I am not going to pretend I have it all figured out and I think it’s always going to be a work in progress. You have to learn to make the choices that are best for you,” Gomez said.