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Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress and singer best known for portraying Alex Russo in the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She subsequently ventured into feature films and has starred in the television movies Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie, and Princess Protection Program. She made her starring theatrical film debut in Ramona and Beezus. Her career has expanded into the music industry Gomez is the lead singer and founder of the pop band Selena Gomez the Scene, which has released two RIAA Gold certified studio albums, Kiss Tell and A Year Without Rain and spawned two RIAA Platinum certified singles, “Naturally” and “Who Says”. As of April 2011, the band has sold 1,354,000 albums in the United States. Gomez has also contributed to the soundtracks of Tinker Bell, Another Cinderella Story, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Shake It Up after signing a record deal with Hollywood Records. In 2008, Gomez was designated a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas. She is the daughter of former stage actress Amanda “Mandy” Dawn Teefey (nee Cornett) and Ricardo Joel Gomez. Her father is of Mexican ancestry, and her mother is of part Italian descent. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez said “My family does have Quincea eras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything thats Catholic, but we dont really have anything traditional except that we go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church.”1 Her birth parents divorced when she was five years old, and she was raised as an only child by her working mother.1 In 2006, Mandy remarried Brian Teefey.1 She is named after Tejano singer Selena, who died two years after Gomez was born.1 In a 2009 interview with People, Gomez mentioned that she developed an early interest in acting from watching her mother prepare for and act in theater productions.1 She earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010.1