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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

The Selena Gomez versus Hailey Bieber drama has taken the celebrity world by storm. Hashtags bearing the titles #TeamSelena or #TeamHailey are all over my social media feeds. However, I’m going to tell you why I have been #TeamSelena my entire life.

Selena was my favorite celebrity growing up, a role model if you will. I watched Wizards of Waverly Place religiously every day after school. (I’m also currently rewatching it now on Disney+) You would often catch me wearing layered outfits and boots, stuffing a stick that I called my ‘wizard wand’ into my boot. 

Her iconic 2010-era songs had me in a chokehold. “Come and Get it” and “Who Says” played on constant repeat on my iPod. I even did a music video to “Love You Like a Love Song” in high school for a class assignment.

But once I grew older, I connected with her in a deeper way than I ever really thought. In 2021, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, better known as Lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where my immune system attacks my tissues and joints. My symptoms include fatigue, kidney pain, a facial rash that resembles a butterfly, joint pain, swelling, fevers, and a whole lot more.

It’s an incurable disease that, without proper treatment, can kill me. It was truly heartbreaking. I battled with anxiety and depression over how my life was never going to be the same again.

But over time I realized I was not alone. My childhood idol, Selena, also has Lupus. She revealed her diagnosis in 2015, which shocked the nation, including me when I was younger.

Selena’s lupus caused her to get a kidney transplant in 2017 after her kidneys became damaged by her immune system. Since then, she has become a major advocate for lupus and the mental health struggles that come along with the disease.

“I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges,” said Selena in an interview with People magazine.

In her documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, she shares an inside look into her life with lupus, where she cried during a lupus flare. “I haven’t felt it since I was younger,” said Selena, “In the morning when I wake up, I immediately start crying because it just hurts, like, everything.”

Selena did not let her disease take over her life. She went on to make numerous hit songs, direct and star in TV shows, and even create her own cooking show, charity, and beauty line.

One quote truly resonated with me which was: “If you are broken you do not have to stay broken,” and that’s exactly what I did. 

Her resilience truly inspired me, helping me to realize that I can live with my disease and I can do the things that I want to do, and not let my disability hold me back. I can go to college, finish my degree, and get a job in my chosen career path. I can enjoy life like I once did. 

And that is why I will forever be #TeamSelena.

Caitlin Simpson is a senior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in both Broadcast Journalism and History. She has a passion for storytelling, the weather, and helping others. She hopes to become a Producer for a local news station in her hometown of Palm Beach, Fla.