"I've learnt a lot about myself during the past year and I feel much more centred and secure in who I am," Gomez says. "I'm not worrying as much about what other people thing anymore and I've become a more self-confident woman who isn't afraid of being vulnerable. It's all about being true to yourself and moving forward in your life."

With her hit new single and viral video 'Good for You' reflecting precisely her "journey of personal growth," the singer/actress appears to be embarking on a new era in her career, marked by the release of her new album, Revival.

Selena, how are things going these days for you?
I'm a lot happier and more relaxed.  I took some time off for myself last year and that's helped me a lot.  Having a career that takes so much of your time makes it difficult if you feel your personal life is always in the spotlight.

I'm appreciative that I have some really good friends and also a lot of fans who worry about me and want me to be happy and healthy.  But then there are a lot of people who want to take you down and criticise you and I have to be able to ignore that side of being in the public eye.

Selena Gomez: “I have never wanted to be skinny”

What lessons or insights about yourself have you learnt lately?
I've needed to be clear about the kind of people I want in my life and who are going to help me evolve and be there when I need their support and those who aren't good for me.  I'm at a place in my life where I want to really be able to enjoy all the opportunities I have and not worry about things that are dragging me down.  One thing I know is that your true friends will always have your back and will always stand with you through the good times and bad.

Is that how you see Taylor Swift?
Taylor is such a great friend. She's the most loyal friend anyone could ever have. She was one of the first people to see my video ('Good for You') and she was so thrilled about it and told me how amazing it was and how excited she was for me. There's always some doubt in the back of your mind about whether you're moving in the right direction musically and Taylor is so smart and has very good instincts about music and about videos.  It meant so much to be to know that she really liked what we did on the video.

What's been the hardest part of keeping your own life together amid all the media frenzy that follows you around?
The main problem is being careful about how much I reveal about myself.  I wish I could be more open sometimes and talk to my fans about what is going on in my life but the trouble is that almost anything you say that is meaningful and honest will often get attacked and twisted around.

I've become more guarded about speaking my mind just as I'm much more guarded about revealing things about myself unless I really trust the person.  Too many times I've been burnt and it makes you very wary of people.  I hate feeling that way but it's hard when you've been hurt by the things people have said behind your back.

Is this the beginning of a new era in the life of Selena Gomez?
[laughs] I hope so!  I think the video marks a new chapter in my life and it represents a step in a new direction for me on an artistic and personal level.  I'm starting to find my way as a stronger and more enlightened young woman who has a lot better perspective on things and more insight into herself and relationships with others.  Those are the kinds of life lessons that I've tried to talk about in my music and my upcoming album.

Selena Gomez: “I have never wanted to be skinny”

What's the downside of celebrity?
It's not being able to go out with your friends and have a normal dinner or go to a club and not be surrounded by people and paparazzi.  Sometimes you really need to be alone... or just go out and eat a hamburger and not be criticised by people for not watching your weight. I have never wanted to try to be skinny because that's not really my body type and I think young women deserve a lot more respect and acceptance.  Women should not be pressured into conforming to any one body image. 

Do you have any personal advice you would like to offer to your fans?
One thing I believe which is very important is to always be true to yourself.  You also have to think very hard about who you are and who you want to be in life. I believe that we're happiest when we feel confident and beautiful and comfortable with who we are.

 Selena Gomez: “I have never wanted to be skinny”