It's a big day for Selena Gomez. The Disney Channel sweetheart celebrates her 20th birthday today. You know what that means? Justin Bieber's girlfriend has officially done what the likes of Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan couldn't.
Selena has made it out of her teen years with nary a scandal. In the era of "everyone with a cellphone is a paparazzi," that's a bona fide accomplishment. It proves that Selena made the conscious choice to keep up the squeaky clean image going, and you have to hand it to her: not many teenagers would or could.
If she hadn't, we could hardly blame her. Teenagers are supposed to screw up. They're a mess of hormones, they're struggling to figure out how independent they can be, and this is their last chance to test their limits in a "safe" way, with their parents to catch them when they fall. Selena and other stars may be in the spotlight, but that doesn't make them impervious to nature.
Parents were apoplectic when Miley Cyrus was caught bumping and grinding on video at just 16 or went out braless at 17, but I always had a soft spot for Cyrus.
Here she was growing up, and she had to do it in the public's eye. What she did was no worse -- or better -- than the typical teenager's testing of the waters, but she didn't have the advantage of figuring herself out in a small town where her only critics were her parents' nosy neighbors. She had to do it in front of the whole world, where people kept trying to treat her like Hannah Montana. Only she wasn't Hannah. As the song says, she was just "being Miley."
Ditto a host of other scandal-plagued Disney Channel stars. Remember when nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens were released when she was only 19? Or how about Lindsay Lohan? The fresh face of the Parent Trap turned dirty in about 2005, when she was only 19, and she was accused of drinking and driving.
But what's the worst we have on Selena?
OMG, she and Justin Bieber kissed in public!
OMG, she cancelled a concert to rush home when her mom suffered a miscarriage!
OMG, Selena Gomez really is as nice and sweet as parents want her to be!
I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit selfish in rooting for Selena to avoid the typical teen rebel traps. My daughter is 7. There's a Wizards of Waverly Place game stuck constantly in her Nintendo DS, and Love You Like a Love Song is currently the soundtrack of our lives. With her access to Google, hiding a Selena scandal from her wouldn't exactly be easy.
Knowing Selena made it out of the teen years scandal-free gives me an extra boost of confidence as a mom -- I was right! It was OK to let my daughter glom on to this one celebrity out of all of them out there.
How about you? Does this milestone boost your Selena Gomez love?
Image by Jeanne Sager