Selena Gomez was named Woman of the Year at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music Awards and tearfully thanked a special friend who saved her life.
The 25-year-old pop star - who struggled with complications from Lupus - gave an emotional acceptance speech by thanking her friend, Francia Raisa, who saved Gomez's life by donating a kidney in September. The operation came just two weeks prior to kidney failure.
"I feel incredibly lucky because I was very confused to feel like if I said too much maybe I wasn't doing enough," she said, regaining her composure.
Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position that I’ve been given in my career, from 7 to 14 to now. I want people to know that I respect the platform that I have so deeply because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something great and I wanted people to feel great because I love people.
She thanked her team, consisting of family and close friends who've seen her through some challenging times.
I feel like for me with my music, I've really been able to illustrate the things that I want and I'm reminded by a team of people who believe in me even when I don't myself.
I’ve never felt this proud to be a woman in the industry than I do today, and that’s because I actually feel comfortable with every single woman that has encouraged me, but how crucial it is that the voices that are being heard for the first time is so great. And I'm so grateful for all the older women who have lifted all of us up because I couldn't be here without any of you. So thank you for all of you that have inspired so many girls who don't feel like they have a voice.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which includes symptoms like fever and fatigue that can have fatal effects on the organs. The former Disney Channel star has come a long way since suffering from depression and anxiety during her long battle with the illness. But thanks to her best friend and life-saver, she came out of the other side as an introspective and empowered woman who avoids giving in to industry pressures. She told Billboard, for the December 9 issue, "I want to live a life that’s worth living” and “I’m actually grateful for who I am."
"I don’t have perfect abs, but I feel like I’m wonderfully made," she said in response to feeling comfortable with her scars and owning her body.
Her most significant revelation since the surgery was a sense of gratitude.
I just kept thinking about how much my body is my own. Ever since I was 7, my life always felt like I was giving it to someone else. I felt really alone even though I had a lot of great people around me. But the decisions I was making, were they ever for me? [After the surgery] I had this sense of gratitude for myself. I don’t think I’ve ever just stopped and been like, “I’m actually grateful for who I am.”
Spoken like the woman of the year she is.
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