Coca-Cola + Young Professional Life: Things I Share With Selena Gomez

May 6, 2016

Selena Gomez. She needs no real introduction. She’s an actress and musician. She’s the most-followed person on Instagram. She has glorious hair and a killer squad of celebrity friends. And last week, she led me to discover a comforting, exciting, weird realization about myself. More on that in a bit.

Coming up on two years at Fast Horse, I’ve had the chance to see all three iterations of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign firsthand. There was the excitement when people found their names on 20-ounce Coke bottles for the first time; the iconic glass bottles that could be custom-ordered with virtually any name or phrase; and now, this spring, your Coke will feature lyrics from some of the last few decades’ favorite songs.

As “It’s getting hot in herre” and “Drop it like it’s hot” make their way to store shelves, Coke just announced its newest partnership with a special musical act for its “Share a Song” campaign. You guessed it: Ms. Gomez. To help with the announcement, Dave and I flew out to Los Angeles last week to coordinate some entertainment and media interviews — with Se-freaking-lena herself.

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Behind-the-scenes at media interviews

The interviews were held at her rehearsal space, where she told reporters about her lyrics that will run on the new Coke bottles and how she’s been preparing for her upcoming Revival tour. She spoke about how much she’s learned about her career and herself in the last few years, how she’s been working harder than she ever has before on projects that she deeply cares about and that feel more true to her as a person and an artist. She talked about her mom and little sister and how excited she was for them to arrive in L.A. that day to see her rehearse. Laughing, she recounted that getting the call from Coke was a “Mom, I made it!” moment and that, above all, she was just excited to get free Coca-Cola (I feel you, girl).

Now listen, it’s no secret that I’m a GIANT Selena fan. Like, I’m throwing it back to her Barney and Wizards of Waverly Place days. And getting to work on a campaign with which she’s so involved has been an insane, amazing, crazy, and, at times, exhausting process. So as I was standing there listening to her from the other side of the camera, I was expecting to be star-struck or speechless or fearfully disappointed that she wasn’t who I had hoped she would be. But I wasn’t any of those things. I was surprised. Surprised by how remarkably familiar her words felt and how closely I related to the things she was saying and feeling.

Selena Gomez — an international celebrity decked out in Yves Saint Laurent and only the sixth female artist ever to score three No. 1 singles from the same album on the Mainstream Top 40 — wasn’t all that different from me. We’re the same age, both feeling that mixture of nerves and excitement for projects we’re passionate about and opportunities presented to us at this stage in our careers, both finding confidence and coming into our own in these early years of our adulthood, and — maybe our closest link — we both consider working on a giant campaign with Coca-Cola a major career moment (in her words, we’re “stoked”).

It was a funny little epiphany.

My dad has told me time and time again that I should be writing down notes about all the things I’m working on. He says one day all the projects will sort of blend together, and it’s important to document the things you’re learning every day to reflect now and then. It’ll help you better speak to your experiences down the line, he says, and if nothing else, it’s cool to look back and realize how far you’ve come. After this project, I think I finally understand what he means.

As those cameras and lights turned off post-interviews, and Selena was whisked away out of sight, there was a brief moment when I thought to myself, “Now that was pretty cool.” These are big brands, big campaigns, big opportunities that Fast Horse has provided me so early in my career. Even though the work I’m doing day-to-day may never be seen onstage by millions of people around the world, the things I’m learning and doing are helping me grow — personally and professionally — and that’s just as important and impactful. At least to me.

So thanks, Selena, for reminding me to step back and take in these experiences in the moment, while remaining excited for what is still ahead. Also, a shout-out for proving it’s totally normal to freak out when you don’t have cell service and desperately need to text your mom — turns out even pop stars do it.

You can check out the lyrics you’ll be seeing on “Share a Song” bottles this summer at ShareaCoke.com!