The 19-year-old singer and actress opened up to us about her emotional yearlong journey back from “rock bottom.” Telling us she is now “happy, healthy and driven,” she dishes on her devotion to being a role model, the strength her family provides and her dreams of winning a Grammy.
On rehab: “I thought I was going to lose everything when I checked myself into treatment. I didn’t know if I would have a career at all when I came home. So it really hit me – I hadn’t been grateful. In that sense, I can honestly say I’m glad I hit rock bottom when I did. Most people don’t have those moments. I see a lot of young people in this industry who feel entitled because they haven’t hit rock bottom yet. I feel blessed when I get an opportunity now.”
On airing out her problems: “It wasn’t my idea, to be 100 percent honest. It was influenced by management, publicists and family. But they were all bringing up a good point: What teens need most is someone that they can relate to – someone they connect with on serious subjects like eating disorders, cutting, bipolar disorder, depression and bullying. I’ve been there. I get it. Why wouldn’t I be honest about it so I could help someone else?”
On being estranged from her father: “Sometimes there are people in your life that you have to cut out. It sucks when it’s your own father. But I know what’s best for me. At a young age, I had to learn that. I have an old soul, because I had to grow up fast – because of the public eye and because of my life experiences.”
On staying healthy: “I continue to have moments. I still think sometimes that I’m not strong enough and I need extra help. I can’t tell you how many people I have working with me in recovery. It’s good. It’s positive. [But] it’s a daily battle. Things can still get me down sometimes. But nothing keeps me down.”
On being Latina: “Latina culture means warm family gatherings, special stories and a bond that I love to experience. I feel so much love and comfort when I’m with [the Latino] side of my family. It makes me proud of my culture and my ethnicity.”
On her big career dreams: “In 2012, I really want to be at the Grammys. And I don’t want to go unless I’m nominated, presenting or performing. It’s my lifetime goal to be able to say I’m nominated. So I really want to make that happen.