Selena Gomez is here to make women everywhere feel good in their own skin.

The “Back to You” singer, 26, is not only on a mission to make women look and feel amazing through her Puma designs, but she’s also striving to empower her fans through both her music and her activewear lines. Which is why the DefyxSG sneaker, which launches on September 18 and touts the initials “SG,” doesn’t only represent herself; the shoe also represents the “Strong Girls” she hopes to reach through the launch.

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“The whole point is to take the focus away from me; it’s about what I believe in and what I choose to do with the platform I’m given,” she tells Footwear News about her partnership with the brand, which is celebrating 70 years. “It’s much bigger than me and it’s much bigger than Puma — it’s about how you feel.”

For Gomez, how she feels in the moment has strongly impacted the collections that she’s created with Puma. “I take cues from music that inspires me, movies that inspire me, artists that inspire me,” she explains. “I love learning from all kinds of people. So for me, it comes from the mood or moment I’m in.”

And yes, the star faces challenges in her everyday life. Last year, she had a kidney transplant due to complications from Lupus. And recently, she was faced with a social media controversy when designer Stefano Gabbana referred to her as “ugly” in an Instagram comment. But Gomez says she stays true to herself, no matter what’s said about her.

“It’s OK that I’m not accepted this way. It’s OK that I’m nice and not intense. I don’t really care,” Gomez shared. “I have to express my message to myself more than my fans. I would say that ‘I get it, I’m like you.’”

And at the end of the day, the most important quality she hopes to spread is simple: strength.

“It’s strong — I never forgot to say the word ‘strong,'” Gomez says of her designs. “The whole point of my line is for any woman who dresses up in athletic wear to feel strong and beautiful.”

For more from Gomez’s cover story, head over to Footwear News.

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