Bella Thorne on Feeling Misunderstood, Future Music, and Her Upcoming Role in 'Paradise City'

Bella Thorne on Feeling Misunderstood, Future Music, and Her Upcoming Role in 'Paradise City'

Bella Thorne on Feeling Misunderstood, Future Music, and Her Upcoming Role in 'Paradise City'

The multi-talented star details her upcoming projects and discusses the trials and tribulations of life in the spotlight.

The multi-talented star details her upcoming projects and discusses the trials and tribulations of life in the spotlight.

Photography: Krischelle Blackwell

Styling: Bella Thorne

Text: Dylan Kelly

In the world of entertainment, 22-year-old Bella Thorne is a master of all trades. Dominating the big screen in a myriad of feature-length films and highly acclaimed television shows, showcasing her genre-defying, musical prowess across her wide range of vocal craftsmanship, and illustrating her own life story in an introspective book of her emotionally charged poems, the omni-talented starlet’s creativity knows no bounds; however, even with her extensive body of soul-defining work, Thorne still admits that she feels misunderstood by the world. 

As Thorne knows, growing up in the spotlight is an incredibly difficult feat. After rising to fame at 13 years old with a lead role on Disney’s Shake It Up, the Florida native promptly became a household name, a phenomenon which situated her entire adolescent development in the public eye and subjected her to the world’s scrutiny. Taking on an adult workload in her early teenage years, Thorne matured at a highly accelerated rate, one so nimble that fans were quick to criticize her for allegedly growing up too fast. “People forget that child actors are working with full adults on set for however many hours a day,” she says. “Of course they grow up so fast. They’ve been an adult since they were what, eight years old?” 

Naturally, the young star left her picture-perfect Disney image behind in an effort to share her evolved identity with fans; however, that process was much easier said than done. “People always hate on the Disney stars because they’re like, ‘Oh, you have this clean image and you’re so young and now you want to be sexy,’” she says. “They don’t understand that at an age where they think [Disney stars] are a little too young to be doing that, these actors already feel like they’re in their mid-twenties because that’s how long it feels like they’ve been working and pushing so many hours in their day.” It’s that forgotten philosophy that’s responsible for Thorne’s rapid evolution, and therein lies the disconnection between the well-rounded entertainer’s personal character and the world’s wild-child impression of her.

“I am the definition of a misunderstood bitch in this industry,” she says. “People think of me as this young party girl who’s like, I’m just going to do this and do that because I want to and I don’t give a fuck. And I’m always like, I’m sorry guys. When did I say I don’t give a fuck? I literally do give a fuck. It would be ridiculous to say that anybody doesn’t give a fuck because of course we do. We’re all insecure human beings that care what people think about us. Let’s not be ridiculous.”

Frustrated with the public’s perception of her identity, Thorne works tirelessly to create content that resonates with her true personality. Having gone through the majority of life signing contracts and chasing paychecks, Thorne recognizes that she needs a break, but while abiding by stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic seems like the perfect time for that mental reset, the multi-talented artist admits that she doesn’t know how to stop working. “Everybody tells me, ‘Bella, come on, take a break,’ or ‘Calm down, Bella. You don’t have to do that much work,’” she says. “And I’m like, you don’t understand that for my brain, it’s a negative thing for me to take a break. It feels like a very negative thing to do because from such a young age, it’s been instilled in me to have a job and to be working.” Although Thorne might be ill-equipped for a vacation, staying productive is her strong suit, and she’s certainly forging ahead across realms of music, film, and creative writing in an effort to showcase the most raw form of her character to-date.

On the musical front, Thorne boasts an unmatched, vocal versatility. After expertly executing a multitude of emotional ballads, like the film-inspired “Walk With Me,” and pumping a plethora of pop-oriented hits, including the legendary anthem “Bitch I’m Bella Thorne,” the sound-defining artist now sets out to conquer a new genre: rap-infused punk rock. “I’m definitely always working against the grain when it comes to my music,” she explains. “Rock and rap are the two biggest influences in my sound. I have a song coming out featuring Hayley Cramer, one of the world’s top drummers, and I have a song with Three Days Grace coming too.” 

In collaboration with rock-and-roll’s finest, Thorne intends on claiming dominance with her electric vocals and badass demeanor, all the while simultaneously crafting an eye-opening narrative through her lyrics. “I just recorded this song last night and I even put some spoken word into the middle of it, so it basically sounds like my book,” she reveals before playing a rough cut of the track. Mimicking the introspective nature of The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray, the star’s book of poems that delves into her personal struggles and multi-faceted identity, Thorne’s upcoming rock-concert-meets-poetry-slam music will indisputably provide an equally sincere look into her emotional psyche.

Centering on an alternate spotlight, Thorne continues to command the creative sphere with her role in the upcoming television series Paradise City, set to release later this year. An episodic continuation of 2017’s American Satan, a rock-leaning, supernatural musical and thriller film, the show is filled with devilish breadcrumbs and magical moments that pay homage to LA’s fame-inducing spirit. “It really gives you an inside scoop as to what this world of Hollywood looks like that’s so fun to imagine,” Thorne says. “I play Lily Mayflower who is the band’s bass. I have a really weird love triangle-meets-a-square with Andy Biersack, the lead, his fiancé in the show, Olivia Culpo, and my girlfriend in the show as well. There’s one scene towards the end—I’m just going to say there’s an orgy, that’s all I’m going to say. There is an actual orgy on the damn show.” Starring in a series that faces fame head-on and provides an evidently superlative sexual awakening, it’s clear that Thorne’s liberated, nothing’s-off-limits mentality has officially replaced her once squeaky clean on-screen persona.

In the broader picture, Thorne leads her limelight reality with confidence and resilience, recognizing the heavy-weighted responsibility she carries in each of her commitments. Reflecting on the ultimate life lessons that underscore her public existence, Thorne says, “One thing that I always remember is people are counting on me. I learned this in one instance when I was doing this movie, I Still See You, and my character had to say goodbye to her father on the anniversary of my [real-life] father’s death.” Undoubtedly one of the most difficult moments in her career, Thorne endured a heart-wrenching, mental breakdown in her trailer just before heading to set to film the scene; however, she strenuously fought back her tears, remembering her essential value to the movie’s success. 

With her psychological well-being on the line and an entire crew waiting on her, Thorne recalls her thought process in that very moment: “Every minute that I spend in this trailer crying is a dollar out of someone’s pocket and everyone is counting on me being the lead in this movie. I cannot let my own personal experience really get the best of me here.” Showcasing incredible perseverance, Thorne somehow managed to still perform the scene to the best of her ability. “I went out there and I used the tears for the scene,” she says. “It was really, really hard. Sometimes you have to really step outside of yourself and say, how far am I willing to push my mental stability for my job?” Clearly willing to test herself to capacity, Thorne proves time and time again that there is virtually nothing that will obstruct her dedicated work ethic, even in the oftentimes treacherous landscape of Hollywood. 

Today, possessing a repertoire that finally aligns with her true character, Thorne contemplates how she would like the world to perceive her. In reflection, the star provides a detailed description of who she really is: “I’m neurotic, intriguing, blunt, funny, and always sincere. I’m the sincerest bitch you’ve ever met,” she affirms. With a tell-it-how-it-is attitude, a candid sense of humor, and an unwavering will to succeed, Thorne continues, revealing a more personal, life-long goal of hers. “I want people to remember me as honest,” she says. “There are not a lot of honest people. It’s really easy to be nice. It’s really easy to be mean. It’s really easy to do a lot of things, but it’s really fucking hard to be honest.” For Thorne, it’s that raw, personal portrayal that defines her perception of success, and with a rebellious-yet-elevated punk rock sound on the way, an all-encompassing dedication to more mature roles in film and television, and a disposition to do whatever it takes to accomplish her goals, it’s safe to say the world is about to see the most real version of Bella Thorne yet.

Watch the teaser trailer for Paradise City, below.


Credits: Hair and makeup: Krischelle Blackwell


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