"When people say no to me, I just have this urge inside of me to want to prove them wrong."
US singer-actress Selena Gomez, who rose to prominence after starring in the Disney Channel teen sitcom Wizards Of Waverly Place from 2007 to 2012, is trying to explain what drives her.
"I have worked since I was seven years old. I have had someone look at me at 11 years old and say I will never be strong enough to carry my own TV show. Three years later, I had my own TV show on Disney."
Despite her success, like everyone else, she has moments of insecurity.
"Nobody is perfect, but honestly, there are days when I don't feel good enough."
We are in Cancun, Mexico, at the Ritz-Carlton hotel and Gomez has been flown down by Sony Pictures Animation for the Hotel Transylvania 2 press junket.
In the sequel to the 2012 animated family flick, which opens in Singapore tomorrow, she reprises her voice role as Mavis, Count Dracula's (Adam Sandler) daughter who is now married to her human boyfriend Jonathan (Andy Samberg) and has a half-breed son who really worries "Vampa" - Grandpa - Drac because he isn't showing any signs of being a vampire.
When Drac's strict and old-school dad Vlad (Mel Brooks) comes to visit while Mavis is away visiting her human in-laws, things get batty - excuse the pun - and Transylvania will never be the same.
Right now, it's hard to believe that Gomez has ever had insecure moments as she is very poised and put together despite being only 23.
When asked about being frank about her weight gain, the Unicef ambassador says: "I was just shocked to see how much attention it got. I am growing up and when you become a woman, things change and certain body types are different than others.
"I don't look at those things and think, 'My goodness, I should look different'.
"But certain girls do and I don't want girls to look at a picture of me and think, 'oh, is that what I am supposed to look like'?''
She attributes her maturity to her upbringing.
"I always feel like I was surrounded by adults growing up and my mum always taught me how to be respectful and listen to people and hear them out and be gracious and be grateful."
Her Disney days are long behind her as evidenced by the artwork on her new album Revival, which produced the hit single Good For You and will be released next month.
She poses nude, striking a sultry pose in the black and white photo.
"This album is something that I have put my whole heart into. I am executive-producing it and it's where I am able to finally say what I want to say. I am not the world's greatest singer, but there's a lot that I want to prove."
Gomez understands the concept that you have to live a little to have something to say.
"When I was 14 years old, what was I going to sing about and what was I going to really care about? I wanted to have fun and dance onstage with a glittery costume. At 23, there's a lot that I have experienced and there's a lot that I have done. I have things to say."
Like dating and breaking up with 21-year-old Canadian pop star Justin Bieber from 2011 to 2014, for one. Not that she is going to openly discuss that today.
"Are people still talking about that? That's so frustrating. Of course it's natural and I am going to have friends and I am going to have relationships and I hope that for the rest of my life I will get to be blessed enough to fall in love.
"But a relationship has never defined my life."
We persist and ask her about being on David Letterman's talk show, where he told her that he made Bieber cry and she answered, "That makes two of us".
What was that about?
"Comedic timing," she answers.
And what did Bieber think of that?
"He laughed with me. We support each other no matter what. I think I said that multiple times. They are not going to pit us against each other."
Can she at least tell us what she looks for in a man?
"I don't trust a lot of people and I get nervous and it's, like, why do people want to talk to me, why do they like me, do they just like me because of who I am?
"And so I think when the time happens, I hope that I can feel comfortable and I can just feel safe and that I know it's real."
With Hotel Transylvania 2 beginning with a wedding, we ask Gomez if she has ever dreamed of her own nuptials.
"I am from Texas, so I should be married now," she says with a laugh. "You know what's crazy is, I go to premieres and red carpets so I am constantly wearing a dress and I have make-up on and I feel like a princess. But I feel like for my wedding day, I don't know how much of that I am going to want. But it's not any time soon, I can tell you that."
This article was first published on September 23, 2015.
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