posted earlier this week about Selena Gomez and how she, alongside her Emilia Pérez castmates, won the Best Actress award at Cannes last weekend. And my bigger point in that post was that because Selena is so often making gossip headlines for her personal life, it overshadows her professional achievements in the pop culture discourse. And her professional achievements are IMPRESSIVE. 

 

From 13 Reasons Why to Selena + Chef and Only Murders in the Building, and now Emilia Pérez (for which she auditioned), Selena has released hit after hit after hit, sometimes commercial, sometimes critical, more often than not both. See below for new photos of Selena in New York yesterday on the set of season four of Only Murders, and in these times, four seasons of a television series is its own accomplishment. All of this means that Selena is not a fluke. You can’t put out all these bangers one after another and call it an accident. These decisions were made with intention and strategy and executed brilliantly. 

 

And that also applies to Rare Beauty. I haven’t tried a lot of the products, but the ones I have tried (liquid blush and tinted lip oil) are solid. The price point isn’t stupid either. And it is SELLING. Rare Beauty is why she covers the new issue of TIME, with a list of the 100 Most Influential Companies. 

 

This is Selena Gomez, the entrepreneur, the CEO, the boss. And these are boss moves. According to TIME, Rare Beauty is reportedly worth $2 billion. Launching just under four years ago, in the early part of the pandemic, it’s a “top seller at Sephora and available in 36 countries, according to the company. After launching in 2020, annual sales grew 100% from 2021 to 2022, and 200% the following year; they hit $400 million for the 12 months ending in May.”

And the brand’s focus is beauty and mental health, with the Rare Impact Fund directly alongside the business “with the goal of raising $100 million in the brand’s first 10 years and pledged that 1% of all product sales would be funneled into the foundation. With $13 million raised to date, the Rare Impact Fund has given grants to 26 organizations across five continents working to improve mental health.”

 

So it’s not hyperbolic to say that Business Selena is a smash hit. But to go back to what I was posting about the other day, people don’t necessarily talk about her like that. And much of it has to do with the fact that, as a mental health advocate, she is open about her feelings, the highs and the very lows, and also because, well, the fan behaviour out there can be messy. 

Selena acknowledges all the time, and many times in this TIME profile, that she loves her fans, she grew up with them, they share a special connection. She also, however, calls out the fact that this bond can be damaging. It comes up when she’s asked about Benny Blanco and how forthcoming he is about their relationship while she’s much more reticent, with experience: 

“I know what people can do to people I love. My own fans, who I adore and feel like have shaped who I am, will say the most hurtful things to me about how I live my life. But he has the strength in him that none of that noise fazes him. It’s really impressive, and I just cherish every moment with him. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that he’s not going anywhere any time soon.”

 

To go back to the work, then, and where some of her fans are concerned, even for them the focus can sometimes be less about the fact that she’s a baller and more about whatever pettiness they can’t let go of. And that has to at least be a factor in what’s projected into the celebrity ecosystem about her career. 

It’s not all of it, but it’s some of it for sure.

That’s not to say that Selena herself doesn’t have a hand in it on occasion, especially in how she engages with social media. And that, as she says, is an ongoing work in progress. 

But this really is about her professional moves. And how successful she’s been, in front of the camera and in the boardroom. She insists that she’s most heavily involved in the creative and philanthropic side of Rare Beauty and that there is a whole team of people managing the business. But that is also a skill – to recruit and then surround yourself with the right people, with the right expertise, to help realise your vision in the marketplace. So let’s not take anything away from Selena on that front. 

 

Rare Beauty is winning in the marketplace. 

“In 2023, sales of its most popular product, a $23 liquid blush, reached $70 million. Earlier this year, rumors swirled when Bloomberg reported Gomez had brought on financial advisers to weigh a sale or IPO. On our walk, she’s quick to shut down the idea that she’s selling. “I don’t have any plans on that, genuinely,” she says, adding that she’s working on products for the next few years. 

CEO Scott Friedman says it took a few years to build the company’s infrastructure while navigating a COVID-19-era launch and managing supply-chain issues; with things more settled, they recently retained investment banks to help envision the future. “We’re going to decide what’s the best way for us to become one of the largest, if not the largest, prestige beauty brands in the world, and it’s not a rush,” he says. “We are making our decisions to grow in the long run.”

Rare Beauty is already big. They have plans to become even bigger – and it means that Selena Gomez is in Rihanna territory in this respect. Not sure if everyone sees it that way but, like, the numbers are certainly there. 

Click here for more on Selena's Rare Beauty in TIME.