Selena Marie Gomez (born July 22, 1992) is an American actress and singer. Born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, she was first featured on the children's series Barney & Friends in the early 2000s. In 2007, Gomez came to prominence after being cast in the Disney Channel television series Wizards of Waverly Place. She portrayed the starring character Alex Russo until its conclusion in 2012. She formed her band Selena Gomez & the Scene after signing a recording contract with Hollywood Records in 2008; they released the studio albums Kiss & Tell (2009), A Year Without Rain (2010), and When the Sun Goes Down (2011) before beginning a hiatus in 2012.