Can Selena Gomez Shed Her Disney Image Without Shedding Her Clothes?

Selena Gomez has been 18 for almost a year, which means it's high time for her to shock America by appearing in a backless ensemble or gyrating in the vicinity of an older male co-star. So far she's only been able to tarnish her Disney reputation by ODing on Nutella.

Newsweek reports that Gomez has successfully put herself on the road to ruin/adult stardom in recent weeks by fainting after an appearance on the Tonight Show. She says she was suffering from exhaustion (such a classic!) brought on by too much junk food (the hazelnut spread, specifically). While this is possibly the least scandalous celebrity ailment ever, the magazine suggests that the girl once dubbed the "Next Miley Cyrus" may be breaking out by singing the line "My new boy knows the way I want it" on her next album. Supposedly dating Justin Bieber, a 16-year-old who rebelled by getting a tattoo that says "Jesus," just reinforces the good-girl image.

Thus Newsweek's claim that her "Disney image has taken a knock recently" is a tremendous overstatement. Rather, it's seems she's the first Disney start in quite a while who's attempting to forge an adult career without removing her clothing. Her new film Monte Carlo, which opens on Friday, is rated PG and the naughtiest thing about it is that it co-stars Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester. The plot is in the Prince and the Pauper mold and Gomez plays both an average Texan and a British heiress. She says of this radical departure from her previous work: "I was really nervous because Cordelia is a totally different character, completely evil and she had an accent."

Like every other Disney star before her, Gomez acknowledges that the transition to a grown-up career will be difficult, but says she believes she can do it. From a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"I come from Disney World and am not taken seriously," Gomez explains matter-of-factly Monday afternoon before her triumph at the mall. She sports a metallic-gold cardigan over a pink linen shirt and black jeggings. Her ensemble says "casual fun." Her pearlescent white stilettos say the opposite.

"It doesn't feel good to be rejected, to hear that directors want Mila Kunis, not a Disney girl."

Disney girl? "The perception is of somebody who probably overacts, probably has no sincerity, probably thinks of acting as a job rather than a skill," says the trouper who treasures her Disney experience.

White stilettos are fairly standard for teen stars, hardly a signal that Gomez is trying to sex up her image. It seems we've come to expect a period of vaguely risque behavior from teen stars when they come of age, and reporters are searching for some indication that Gomez simply can't be tamed.

It's possible that she's plotting her rebellion. She still has some time to pose for GQ, and we're sure her cellphone has a camera on it. But we're hoping for the best.

Good Girl, Interrupted [Newsweek]
Selena Gomez Teeters On Grown-Up Stardom With "Monte Carlo" [Gather]
Selena Gomez: Teen Disney Celebrity On The Cusp Of Adult Stardom [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Earlier: Someone Please Help Justin Bieber Rebel