The Free the Children charity annually organizes events consisting of speeches in several cities as We Day for (selected) students of schools that are carrying out local and global social actions throughout the year. In 2014, Selena held a speech at the California event on March 27 and hosted the complete Vancouver event on October 23.
California speech March 2014
This is a transcription. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/oKnreYxKZqE
Hi, guys, how are you? So good to see you guys, so you guys having a good night?
I have to say that it’s such an honour to be here, it is, I’m so happy to be here, I’m like a nerd and brought my own speech but I hope it’s OK that I take this opportunity to really just spend with you guys and tell you a little bit about my story.
I’m not an activist, I haven’t changed the world or led a campaign, I’m here to just tell you my path, so that you hopefully can take something away from it, because I don’t like being honest with — this is a truth — I don’t like being honest with press and interviews, I like being honest with you, directly, which is each and every one of you.
Because I feel like I can and I’m just going to start with the basics, so I’m 21 and my mom had, (laughs), my mom had me when she was 16. And I’m from Grand Prairie, Texas, and she worked four jobs and completely dedicated her life into making mine better. So, to me, she is the definition of a strong woman. And I love her so much. Because she’s taught me those values so much. (laughs) Thank you.
I have been acting my entire life and I have known since I was first on Barney, you know that purple dinosaur, [unintelligible] (laughs) he’s great. You guys are so motivated, I feel like I can say anything! (laughs) When I was eleven, the point being is that when I was seven I wanted to be an actress and I wanted to live my dream. And when I was eleven I had a casting director tell that I wasn’t strong enough to carry my own show. And I’m sure all of you have been told that you don’t have what it takes and you may not be good enough and you don’t have enough people supporting you and you’ve been told all of these things when deep down it’s all you want to do. You want to be a part of something great. You want to make something great. And it does more than not the wind out of you and crushes you when people try to tell you that you’re not good enough. And it almost did for me but there was my mom next to me stronger than ever and she said the most important thing is to always trust in myself. If I have, if I’m doing something because I love it, I should do it because I love it and I believe that I can do it.
So she told me to keep going, thank you, she told me and she taught me to turn the other cheek and let the credits, the critics be critics, and let us just trust ourselves. So for me, thank you, two years later, I got my own show and the first thought, the first thought wasn’t oh man, that girl when I was eleven said that I wouldn’t carry my own show and I did, I mean, I thought about that for a little bit, but I thought about what my mom said. My mom is like you have to trust yourself and I realized that if I didn’t believe that I could do it, I wouldn’t be able to be here. And I have, I’m going to say I live a very blessed life, I have so much to be thankful for and a lot of you are big part of inspiring me because I don’t think you get it and maybe you’re not old enough, but you inspire me to be better and we should inspire each other to be better. I’m surrounded by people who are supposed to guide me and some of them have and others haven’t. They pressure me, there’s so much pressure, you’ve got to be sexy, you’ve got to be cute, you’ve got to be nice, you’ve got to be all these things!
And I’m sure you can all relate, you all have pressure that you have to deal with every day. I’m sure at school, at work, with friends, with parents, with family, parents, I know, sometimes with mine, they tell me what to wear, how to look, what I should say, how I should be. Until recently, I had given in to that pressure. I lost the idea of who I was. I listened to opinions of people and I tried to change who I am because I thought that others would accept me for it. And I realized I don’t know how to be anything but myself.
And all I really want you to know is that you are changing the world, I’m not changing the world, you’re changing the world and that’s amazing! Please, please just be kind to each other and love and inspire people because let’s do it! Let’s do it, let’s change the game, let’s change the game!
The most important thing is that we learn and we continue to learn from each other. Please stay true to yourself, please just remain who you are and know that we have each other’s back, all of us have each other’s back. (laughs)
I’d be lying if I said that I never tried to make myself better by giving in, because I have, but I’ve learned from my actions, and for all of the things I’ve done I’m proudest of that I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I want you to know what it’s like that I know what it’s like. Figuring out what types of friends you have, you are who you surround yourself with. So I just want to say I hope I can inspire each and every one of you to just trust in yourselves, to love and to be loved, and thank you for allowing me to come up and ramble and talk to you guys because this is such a beautiful thing you’re doing. Be proud of yourselves. This is great! (laughs)
Thank you so much for the opportunity for me to come out and share my story with you guys.
Vancouver speech October 2014
This is a transcription. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/yWABa0L-PcA
We Day! I had an absolute blast with you guys, but I want to take a moment just to share something with you guys.
I’ve been on TV since I was 9 years old, so I didn’t really have a typical childhood. When people look at me, they don’t see a 22-year-old figuring it out as she goes, they see what they want to see, and that comes with a lot of expectations. I know what it’s like to be judged, to be put down. I know what it’s like to have other people form opinions of you without even knowing you, trying to damn your life. I know what you guys go through, because I go through it every single day. But I don’t let it get to me. It’s entirely normal to get pulled of force and just to get in my mind and let that inside and distract me from who I am, but if I actually did that, it will drive me crazy.
I want to say you’re not defined by an Instagram photo, by a like, by a comment, that does not define you. I want you guys to know that the trick is to focus on love. And what I want you guys to do: every rude comment you get, every person that tries to hurt you, personally or through the internet, I want you to forgive them. Just forgive them, because they don’t even know, they have no idea.
There is so much love in this world and this stadium. Do not limit yourself because of what others expect. We all deserve more than we think and in the end, nobody remembers those haters, the comments, nobody remembers them, they’re just background noise. When it’s over, nothing defines you but what you leave behind and what lives you touched on the way. It’s a lesson, it’s a lesson that I’m still trying to learn, but I’m so grateful for what I have. I am ready for what comes next to my life.
If you just take one thing from today, let it be this: I want you guys to believe in yourselves, because I believe in you and you guys need to believe in each other. Thank you so much. Like my friend Taylor says, the haters are going to hate, so shake it off, so just do you! Be true to yourself! Love yourself! Have confidence in yourself, and everything will be fine. I am so excited for what’s going to come next for you guys. Thank you so much.