Bella Thorne On Being A Disney ‘Puppet’: ‘I’ve Lied My Whole Life About Who I Am’

Bella Thorne first found fame when she appeared on Disney’s Shake It Up, but the whole experience left her feeling like a puppet because her mother was afraid that they would be fired if she showed her real self. Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar, the 19-year-old revealed that she had a “mentality where you don’t know who you are.”

Bella Thorne smiles for Disney
Actress Bella Thorne attends the 21st A Time For Heroes Celebrity Picnic sponsored by Disney to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation held at Wadsworth Great Lawn on June 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. [Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation]

She said that Disney did not like her deep voice, that’s why she was asked to speak at a higher pitch during interviews. When she was 14, the studio reprimanded her for wearing a bathing suit. Bella recalled her mom’s constant fear that she would be fired. She was advised by her mom to not be herself and “just be good” if Bella didn’t want to lose her employment and their house.

When the series aired its finale in 2013, Bella released an album and reunited with her real self. The end of her Disney contract equated to her dismissal of her character CeCe’s girly persona. Bella went back to her rebellious self, got a tattoo, and had her septum pierced. Her seemingly sudden change of image left fans astonished. However, Bella reminds them that she is merely showing her real self.

“People will ask me, ‘Who are you now?’ But this is who I’ve really been—you just didn’t see me before. I was just a puppet. I wasn’t allowed to make my own decisions or think for myself in any way,” she told the magazine.

Bella refuses to pretend as someone she is not for the sake of having a squeaky clean public persona. If she refrains from filtering her thoughts, that’s because she grew tired of being controlled for years by Disney.

“The world needs more honesty. I’ve lied my whole life about who I am and who I’m trying to be, so now, I like to keep it real. I have problems like every person, so if I can help somebody else then that’s f***ing dope.”

As someone who feels comfortable expressing her thoughts online, it isn’t surprising that she receives vile messages.

“You make so many mistakes when you’re young, but [as a celebrity] your mistakes are so harshly judged by everyone around the world. When you’re the most hated person on the Internet, then it’s not so fun,” Bella shared.

Bella Thorne 2016 photo
[Image by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for iHeart]

These things, however, only make her stronger. She has learned to take baseless accusations lightly. When a headline misunderstanding prompted Charlie Puth to tweet things which implied Bella was a cheater, she nearly added a snake emoji to her bio to ride the fans’ insults.

When Bella finally cut ties with Disney, she admitted that it was tough to get jobs at first because casting directors wouldn’t take her seriously. She recalled having to “beg for an audition” because the directors wouldn’t give her time because “she’s so Disney.” She expressed gratitude to a director who apologized for misjudging her.

Bella will have a pretty busy year. Her new flicks, Midnight Sun and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, will premiere later this year. She may be seen as well in Famous in Love as Paige Townsend, a girl who’s trying to adjust to her new glamorous lifestyle after she becomes a star overnight.

She is currently working on Break My Heart 1000 Times in Winnipeg. It was just confirmed that she would star in Bad Influence, a tale of a protective mom who found out that her son fell in love with a dangerous woman.

Bella left school in third grade because of dyslexia, but she looks forward to having a tutor soon. She did not let this learning challenge stop her from writing her first short film, The Her and the Him. The Christmas horror drama will start filming in May.

[Featured Image by Angela Weiss/Getty Images]