Liz Smith: Selena Gomez, Disney Star, Rises, Blooms, and Worries

Teen bombshell Selena Gomez

And more from our Liz: Women producers — is Hollywood still playing catch-up? … Barbra Streisand — California needs her land

“IT’S LIKE starting over. I was trying to explain it to one of my friends and he said. ‘You’ll be fine. People believe in you.’ But when they’re putting together a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, I don’t think they are going to go, ‘Selena Gomez would be great for this!’ I’m not an option. It’s humbling, having to go from this high at Disney back down to having to fight for roles.”

That’s 18-year-old Selena Gomez, one of the big breakout stars of the Disney Channel’s charming “Wizards of Waverly Place” sitcom, talking to Teen Vogue. Now, with the series soon ending, Gomez is nervous, obviously.

Although she has reason to fret — show biz is a terribly negative biz, and quick to type an actor — I don’t think this young lady has that much to bite her nails over. Not only is she remarkably at ease in front of the camera and displays a wicked, sophisticated sense of humor, but she is already a beauty with “It.” At the last Golden Globes ceremony, she all but walked off with the glamour award on the red carpet, wearing a gown that said — “I am still a teenager, but I can be a wow without being vulgar and trying too hard.”

She appears to have a head on her shoulders, and doesn’t feel the need to “prove” she’s growing up by partying or employing stripper poles in videos (she sings, too) or forgetting how to properly exit a limo. As to that aspect of her life — press intrusion and paparazzi — Gomez is tough and realistic. “The press? They don’t care about me. They just want something on me they can use. They just want to get that shot.” (Well – especially now that Selena is dating teen dream Justin Beiber!)

I predict Selena Gomez will be around for some time, and that she will rise above her Disney image. Without having to remove her clothes. Oh, and I predict the same for Selena’s handsome 21-year-old “Wizards of Waverly Place” co-star David Henrie. Although the guys aren’t usually required to get naked to prove they are no longer “child stars.” (Mr. Henrie doesn’t mind being photographed shirtless, however. He’s a major heartthrob.)

One complaint here. As I’ve said, Gomez is a beauty. But I’ve never seen such an unflattering photograph of the actress as appears on the cover of Teen Vogue. (Yes I have to read Teen Vogue. Just as I have to check out TMZ, etc.) Maybe it was the heavy retouching. It didn’t even look like her. Really, how much retouching does an 18-year-old need?!

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OH, ONE more thing, while we are in Disneyland. I’ve noticed that many of the kid shows that proliferate here and on the Nickelodeon Channel (they are “friendly rivals”) seem to take a dim view of maturity. Words and phrases such as “geezers” and “the old people” are often employed when, on rare occasions, characters over the age of forty or fifty appear. Listen up, kids (and whoever is writing this stuff) — you’ll all be “geezers” someday. Show some respect — your tummies won’t always be so firm.

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FLIPPING THROUGH my favorite showbiz/entertainment magazine The Hollywood Reporter, I came across an article about the stresses and strains of being the producer of a television drama — they still do exist, despite the omnipresence of idiotic reality TV. But I did wonder, when I opened the page and looked at then seven producers representing HBO, Showtime, TNT, FX, NBC and AMC, “Where are the women?” Just seemed odd to me. We’ve come a long way, baby, but we’ve still got a way to go.

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BUT THERE on the back page of the Reporter was its usual bit of nostalgia, “80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter.” And it was about a powerful woman who changed all the rules, which made me feel a bit better about the dearth of female producers.

This one recalled the magazine’s drop-down-dead rave review given to Barbra Streisand’s first TV special, “My Name is Barbra.” It was noted that Barbra was only 23 years old, and had already conquered the record world, and Broadway in “Funny Girl.” A bit of the review was re-printed and the page was illustrated with a wonderful photo of Barbra, with her classic bangs, extended eyeliner, and erupting from the bodice of her gown, holding her “My Name is Barbra” Emmy award.

Speaking of Miss Streisand, some of you might recall that back in 1993 she donated a 24-acre, multiple-home Malibu estate to the State of California and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. But with California in such dire need of money, Governor Jerry Brown has moved to sell this, among other state properties.

Barbra’s response? “While I had hoped that the property I donated would have been used for a state-of-the-art Environmental Conference and Study Center, I understand Governor Brown’s tough decision given the shortfalls California is facing. I only hope there is little disruption to the residents of Ramirez Canyon and that this potential transition … will preserve its special habitat.”

Given Barbra’s deep concerns regarding the environment, and the quite special plans she had for the land, this was a gracious statement. Well, she’s a Californian, and doesn’t want to see her state slide into the ocean, even before the “Big One” hits. Yes, yes — I know she was born in Brooklyn, but she’s lived on the West Coast for many years. She’s as Californian as an anchovy. (These are indigenous to the waters off Southern California.)

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WE ARE always telling you about the big Broadway shows, but here’s a little Off-Broadway offering that might be amusing. On June 28th, a musical revue titled “Greenwich Village Follies” opens. It is a history of The Village from colonial times up through the present day. Composer/lyricist Doug Silver (and co-lyricist Andrew Frank) say the show is an “homage” to the original “Greenwich Village Follies,” which ran back in the 1920’s.

Directed by John-Andrew Morrison, these follies happen at Manhattan Theater Source (177 MacDougal Street.) It features a talented rotating cast, and it’s only 80 minutes!

Call 866-811-4111.


5 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Barbra Streisand should have put a “will revert back to the donor” clause in her agreement with the state although it sounds like she didn’t even have an agreement with regard to how she wanted the state to use the property – she might have been able to find a non-profit to take it over and finaly put in the center she envisioned. Many state and local governments are “selling off assets” in order to “make ends meet” which in itself is not really too wise but in the case of “donated assets” particularly not wise because it makes potential donors a little weary of donating property which eventually may be sold.

    • avatar Richard Bassett says:

      Ramirez Canyon is hardly a place where you would build a non-profit. It is in the middle of the montains (not hills) and is as secluded as it gets. An Armed Forces base would make more sense. It certainly would stay secret.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Given the concern of some that eventually the state will start selling off what’s left of the Santa Monica Mountains to developers, I can’t think of a better place to have an environmental center than Ramirez Canyon. So people could see what it is that needs to be preserved.

        • avatar Richard Bassett says:

          Ahh, you add “‘environmental center” ….which could be anything from studying the survival of the mountain bill goat to earthquake research on the San Fernando fault, but without income being provided (at some state/federal center) such observation bases could not exists. And charging the public to transform it ito a tourist attaction, you would destroy the delicate balance of nature calling it safe. People cause a mess. Several of these establishments are already functioning. The Hollywood Hills once had wildlife that have retreated into even move remote regions, away from the hills and into the mountains. Griffith Park is population filled. Even visiting the Observarory, parking is tight. This is known, just as the western ghost towns of the high desert. There are others, I assume, and that there are military based and areas that have been remained untouched by human hands….without a tourist bus arriving every hour. They should stay that way. We need more wildlife protective areas to species close to extinction can thrive. You can’t build anything in the Santa Monica Mountains anyway. You can barely reach them by road.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            “…she might have been able to find a non-profit to take it over and finaly put in the center she envisioned.”