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Selena Gomez starts to move away from her Disney roots -- sort of

June 14, 2011 | 12:59 pm

Reutersfredprouser Over the weekend, the Twitterverse flew into a frenzy when teen star Selena Gomez fell ill.

After reportedly complaining of a severe headache and nausea, the 18-year-old checked into a hospital and was forced to cancel a Friday appearance at Santa Monica Place to promote her upcoming film "Monte Carlo." That event was rescheduled for Monday, when several thousand of the actress-singer's wide-eyed fans packed the space outside the mall for a concert, which lasted all of about 20 minutes.

Immediately upon her arrival, Gomez reassured everyone she was back in good health. 

"I'm fine. I was just very malnourished, I was low in iron and exhausted," she explained (in a video you can watch here) to a group of print reporters, with whom she spoke for a minute before bounding on stage. There, she sang two songs and then answered about five questions that had been pre-submitted for her through a website.

Meanwhile, a slew of prepubescent girls lined up to get "royal makeovers" while others waited to get their photos snapped in front of a special movie-themed backdrop.

The event was aimed at promoting "Monte Carlo," which comes out July 1 and stars Gomez as a young woman on vacation in Paris, where she is confused for a British heiress (which sounds like, um, a few of those other teen movies where a girl heads to Europe to find her identity).

Gomez will offer a version of this routine on a nine-city tour meant to drum up ticket sales for "Monte Carlo." The movie is the first feature being sold primarily on her name. (Last summer, Gomez had the supporting role in "Ramona and Beezus," a movie based on author Beverly Cleary's popular children's novels. The movie wasn't a hit, bringing in a modest $26.2 million in the U.S.)

At the time of "Ramona," Gomez said she was planning her post-Disney Channel career carefully: First take on a smaller role in a kid-friendly film so she doesn't alienate her fan base, and then try to tap into a slightly older teen audience.

"It was the perfect way for me to go into a little bit more PG-13 and not do anything rated R -- anything crazy," she said of "Monte Carlo" while conducting an interview last summer. (The film is actually rated PG.) "It was the perfect kind of push to where families could go see it, but also a bunch of teens or people in their 20s could go see it for a light romantic comedy."

In her personal life, Gomez is starting to mature, if recent racy photos of her and Justin Bieber are any indication. On screen she'll only begin to branch out next year, when she's signed on to star in the more weighty drama "13 Reasons Why," about a girl who commits suicide. But if Monday's well-managed event is any indication, Gomez isn't ready to stray too far from the Disney script just yet.


Selena Gomez hospitalized, Santa Monica appearance canceled

The Performance: Selena Gomez

With 'Ramona and Beezus,' can Selena Gomez branch out from her Disney Channel roots?

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Selena Gomez performs at Santa Monica Place on Monday. Credit: Fred Prouser/Reuters.