feature and other photos by Mona Kuhn for Harper’s Bazaar
You know that thing where you’re a Disney star and you’re beloved across the globe, while your very curated public persona is incredibly squeaky clean and wholesome… until you turn about 18 and suddenly emphatically demand that the world recognizes you as a free-spirited, sexual being? Yeah, cool, me neither.
In this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, former Disney star Bella Thorne poses provocatively in a Marilyn Monroe-style photo shoot. Fittingly, she also engages her interviewer in a discussion about the pitfalls of fame, particularly for someone so young dealing with the social media-saturated 24-hour news cycle. Bella explains how during her tenure on the hugely popular Disney show Shake It Up, she was forced to dress in a more feminine fashion and even speak in a higher tone of voice in order to appear demure and non-threatening to the show’s young audience.
Since being released from her Disney contract, Thorne has worked hard to rebrand herself in a more raw, grown-up and honest way, releasing her debut album and speaking openly about her struggles with dyslexia and depression. She describes experiencing enormous relief as she found herself able to dress like a tomboy if she wanted, get a tattoo, have her septum pierced – normal things a young woman exploring her own identity might do. Thorne came out as bisexual on Twitter late last summer, and since then the 19-year-old has been the subject of great fascination among the entire Autostraddle Vapid Fluff department (I am the entire Autostraddle Vapid Fluff department). She explains to interviewer Olivia Fleming that although she feels obligated to use her very public platform to speak out about personal issues, she also struggles to maintain a sense of privacy in her life and relationships.
“It’s hard every time I step out of the house,” she explains. “I have to worry about someone photographing my acne and how’s it going to look and if someone’s going to write about me having bad skin because ‘she was partying’ or ‘out too late the night before.’ That part sucks for sure.” Thorne notes that the paparazzi have made dating especially stressful – “Even if I’m not dating somebody, even if we’re just seen hanging out, he must be my boyfriend and we’re moving in and holy shit we’re getting married! I want to go ice skating and I want to ride dirt bikes or do something dope as a date, but I can’t… because if I step outside, he’s my boyfriend all of a sudden. So it’s like, Oh fuck, well, we can only go to your house or mine, we can’t leave the house.”
While Bella’s announcement of her bisexuality was met with overwhelming support from her fans, she has yet to date a girl – though she does clarify that she’s “done other stuff.” She’d like to, but has found flirting with women confusing. “I can’t tell if a girl is hitting on me or she just wants to be friends. And I don’t want to flirt with a girl if she thinks I’m just being her friend. What if I kiss a girl and she’s like Oh, I’m just your friend dude, I can’t believe you just crossed that boundary. I’m confused on what they want from me.” Girl, same.
Since breaking up with Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey last November, Thorne has been single. In her own words, “I’m single as fuck. I could not be more single. This is the longest I’ve ever been super single.” She clarifies later that she loves being in a stable, committed relationship, and that she finds her single status frustrating. If you are a girl who would like to date Bella Thorne, she’s just letting you know, she’s available.
Later, Thorne admits that if she had to choose a girl to date, she’d prefer to begin with the Real Life Shane of Los Feliz, Kristen Stewart. “She’s so hot,” Bella gushes. “She seems like the raddest chick… I’d be so down.”
A cursory glance through Autostraddle’s significant coverage of Kristen’s seemingly deliberate attempts to date every single famous queer woman in Hollywood reveals that all Bella Thorne may need to do in order to make her dreams come true is wait like, six months. That said, Bella Thorne, we applaud your bravery and wish you success in every sense of the word.