Selena Gomez was born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her mother Amanda [Commonly known as Mandy] Cornett is an Italian woman from Dallas, Texas and her father Ricardo Gomez is from New Mexico. Mommy Mandy gave birth to Selena at 16, and her parents divorced in 1997. Nearly 10 years later she remarried to Brian Teefy. Selena is best known for her role as Alex Russo in the show ‘Wizards Of Waverly Place’ and as Mary in ‘Another Cinderella Story’. Selena signed a record deal with Hollywood Records just before her 16th birthday and is recording an album due out Summer of 2009. Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Andrea Gardner (née Finlay), a homemaker, and Scott Kingsley Swift, a stockbroker. Her maternal grandmother, Majorie Finlay, was an opera singer. Swift has a younger brother, Austin.When Swift was in fourth grade, she won a national poetry contest with a three-page poem entitled “Monster In My Closet”. At the age of ten, a computer repairman showed her how to play three chords on a guitar, sparking her interest in learning the instrument. Afterwards, Swift wrote her first song, “Lucky You”. She began writing songs regularly and used it as an outlet to help her with her pain from not fitting in at school. She was a victim of bullying, and often wrote songs to express her emotions. She also started performing at karaoke contests, festivals, and fairs around her hometown. When Swift was 12, she devoted an entire summer to writing a 350-page novel, which remains unpublished. Her first major show was a well-received performance at the Bloomsburg Fair. Swift attended Hendersonville High School but was subsequently homeschooled for her junior and senior years. In 2008, she earned her high school diploma. Swift’s greatest musical influence is Shania Twain. Her other influences include LeAnn Rimes, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and her grandmother. Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Swift’s tastes always leaned more toward country music. In her younger years, she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. She also credits the Dixie Chicks for demonstrating the impact you can make by “stretching boundaries”.