Actress Selena Gomez got her big break on the set of Disney’s Waverly Place when she was only 14-years-old. Since that time her star power has continued to rise, and her name is known all over the world. But like many men and women who started out as child actors, Gomez admits that growing up in the spotlight has had its ups and downs.

In a recent interview with beauty blog Into the Gloss, the 22-year-old Come & Get It singer talked about the importance of her Disney family.

“I was on Wizards of Waverly Place from when I was 14 until I was 18 or 19 and I thank God for that show—it gave me a legitimate family. The whole cast and crew were all there before anything started, they saw me at my best and at my worst, and could call me out on my s–t,” she explained.

Selena admits that she may have been Disney stereotyped, but that her experience was exactly what she needed. “I’m proud of [that show]. Sure, it put me in that box of being a Disney kid, but I wouldn’t change that for the world.”

After a two-week stint in rehab in January and her tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship with Justin Bieber, Gomez admits that 2014 has been a growing year on many levels. “It’s been such a transitional year for me—I moved out of my parents’ house this year and into my own place. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, I don’t handle all of this as well as people think, so it’s been important to really figure out what makes me feel grounded.”

The actress admits that the older she had gotten, the “prouder” she is to be a working female in the entertainment industry.

Gomez continues, “When I was younger and running around all the time on tour, I don’t think I took the time to notice how being a woman in my position is really a gift. I want to make sure I utilize all that power…All the stuff that I’ve been living [has] been beautiful and awkward and authentic.”

With her music career on track and appearances this year in the movies Rudderless and Behaving Badly, Selena Gomez has plenty of reasons to be excited about being a buzzed about actress in Hollywood.