Selena Gomez says it took her "a long time to let go".

The former Disney star appears on the cover of i-D magazine's latest issue, where she shows off a sultry grown-up look for the black and white photos.

Selena claims she wasn't always a natural performer growing up.

“I was actually really shy as a child," the 21-year-old brunette admitted to the magazine. "My first audition did not go well. I was very awkward. It was in front of a bunch of suits at Disney and I definitely felt I blew it. It took me a long time to let go.”

Selena was inspired to come out of her shell by songstress Britney Spears. The actress-and-singer has recalled watching a Britney concert in Texas when she was seven.

“The Baby One More Time… concert was amazing. I sat all the way up in the nosebleeds and I could barely see her, but I remember it being the best day of my life,” Selena reminisced. “I had my hair in a ponytail and I knew all the words to the songs. I’ll always remember it.”

For her cover shoot with i-D, Selena posed on the gritty streets of London. She marvelled over her transformation for the shoot, and how much she's changed in the past few years.

“I love doing shoots overseas. Actually being there and feeling the environment adds a realness to the shoot,” she added. “It’s so easy to wear incredible, beautiful dresses and look super glamorous, because you have the power of Photoshop, but a shoot that’s really stripped-down and raw is really fun to do. I was being rained on, it was freezing, I was covered in a giant sweater and my hair was all over the place. I got to just be in that moment and feel like I was there.”

As well as landing cover shoots and starring in movies such as Spring Breakers, Selena is preparing for her tour. She acknowledges the fact she's got a lot on her plate.

“It’s been crazy,” Selena admitted. “I wanted it to be bigger and better than the last tour, so the stage and the presentation are gonna be really fun.”