Selena Gomez has learned to accept her body as it is. That includes embracing the scars left behind by a 2017 kidney transplant due to complications from the chronic autoimmune disease lupus.
In an interview with People magazine as part of their People of the Year issue, Gomez, 28, opened up about how she’s learned to appreciate the marks on her band and find power in them.
“At the beginning of my recovery, I was a little bit sad. You’re already going through something, and then there’s the added pressure of ‘I don’t look the same. I don’t know if I feel comfortable in my body,” said Gomez, who was named one of the magazine’s People of the Year along Dr. Anthony Fauci, Regina King and George Clooney.
“But I’m also around some of the best people, who see beyond the things we sometimes get wrapped up in. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that scar, and now I look at it in a much different way,” she added. “I feel like I’m more of a warrior.”
Gomez revealed the scar in September in a moving Instagram post in which she shared a photo in a blue swimsuit where her scar was visible on the inside of her thigh.
“When I got my kidney transplant, I remember it being very difficult at first showing my scar,” she captioned the photo. “I didn’t want it to be in photos, so I wore things that would cover it up. Now, more than ever, I feel confident in who I am and what I went through…and I’m proud of that.” Gomez received a kidney transplant from her friend Francia Raisa after suffering organ damage caused by lupus.
Gomez’s surgery was in the news again this week when Peacock, NBC Universal and the producers of the Saved By the Bell reboot apologized for an episode that featured a joking reference to Gomez’s transplant surgery; the streaming service pledged a donation to Gomez’s lupus charity in the wake of social media criticism of the episode.
“We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health. We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC,” Peacock, NBC Universal and the show’s executive producers said in statement given to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday (Nov. 28).