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Bella Thorne on breaking free from ‘difficult’ Disney star image: ‘That image is very difficult’

EXCLUSIVE: At the age of 14, Bella Thorne had amassed fame and fortune, notably for her breakthrough role on “Shake It Up” on the Disney Channel, after years spent modeling throughout her childhood.

Today, there’s little the now 23-year-old star hasn’t accomplished in the industry. She’s a movie actress, singer, songwriter and director. On Friday, Thorne released a new song titled “Shake It,” and promises two new singles and music videos on the way.

Thorne stressed this week in an interview with Fox News she’s been “lucky enough” to work at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. After years of being picked and prodded to fit a certain mold and character — beginning with her start at Disney over a decade ago — she believes she’s reached a phase in her life where she’s calling the shots, and it’s exactly where she wants to be.

“There are definitely a lot of pressures in the Disney eye to be so perfect and I think that’s where Disney in a sense goes wrong because they make their kids seem perfect,” Thorne reflected of her early years in the spotlight.

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Bella Thorne, pictured here with Zendaya, rose to fame on the Disney show 'Shake It Up.'

Bella Thorne, pictured here with Zendaya, rose to fame on the Disney show ‘Shake It Up.’
(Rick Rowell/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

The squeaky-clean image young stars are expected to uphold is unrealistic, Thorne says, and something she could never relate to.

“That image is very difficult. It’s also never been me,” Thorne added. “I always just like to do whatever no one else is doing.”

“Little kids growing up don’t need to see perfect people. Kids need to see real. They need to see diversity, they need to see intriguing,” Thorne said.

In recent years, Thorne has spoken candidly about her personal life. In 2018, she bravely spoke up about enduring sexual and physical abuse as a child up until the age of 14. She also penned a poetry book, “The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray,” touching on her family struggles. In 2019 at the age of 21, she came out as pansexual, revealing that she doesn’t base her love life on gender nor sexual identity.

Actress Bella Thorne, 23, worked as a child model before landing a role on Disney's 'Shake It Up' as a teen.

Actress Bella Thorne, 23, worked as a child model before landing a role on Disney’s ‘Shake It Up’ as a teen.
(MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Thorne said breaking free of the Disney label and sharing her most painful secrets has resulted in a deeper connection with her fans than any of her onscreen work.

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“People that are real talk about real things. I think that was much more important than my image. The Disney image was much less important,” Thorne added.

She also noted that sharing her poetry with the world has proven to be her greatest accomplishment so far.

“My life has changed in a lot of really amazing ways. Now when fans come up to me, they don’t always say, ‘I love you from this movie, that movie.’ They say, ‘Oh my God, I read your book and I connected to it so much because of this terrible time.'”

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“They tell me these stories and we connect. We usually both cry a little bit, and we hug. The book has curated me these beautiful moments in time that I get to fully be in,” she said.

The former Disney star revealed she's interested in starting her own lingerie line one day.

The former Disney star revealed she’s interested in starting her own lingerie line one day.
(Getty Images)

Thorne isn’t shy when it comes to sharing her provocative side. A quick glimpse at her social media feeds shows she’s not afraid to share details about intimacy.

“I feel really confident in my sexuality,” Thorne said, noting she’s grateful to have been supported “by my peers and fans” in coming out.

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The entertainer shared she’s recently been contemplating starting her own lingerie line. “That s–t would be so cute!” Thorne said excitedly, adding, “I would make some good a– lingerie.”

And she’s already mastered the approach to paying no mind to social media trolls who routinely critique her revealing selfies on Instagram.

“You just can’t react. If someone says you’re an ugly piece of s–t and you look bad, you’re thinking, ‘Am I really an ugly piece of s–t? Is that who I am?’ By doing that you are giving those words weight. Those are really just words,” Thorne said.

Thorne said she wants to focus on 'how to be better and how to do better' in 2021.

Thorne said she wants to focus on ‘how to be better and how to do better’ in 2021.
(Jemal Countess/FilmMagic)

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For now, Thorne says she’ll continue focusing on “how to be better and how to do better” in 2021. Besides working on music and designing her house in her spare time — she says she’s “constantly hot gluing things and attaching things that shouldn’t be attached” — she plans to continue to deliver content that bring her fans joy.

“With all the terribleness we’re going through, we need it. Yeah, we need to relax a little bit and have some type of release,” she said.


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