Bella Thorne is a leading example of the Gen Z counterculture, who exposes herself in music as an independent artist with a lot to say.
She has made it in an industry where women are calling some shots. The 23-year-old doesn’t hate men. In fact, she just got engaged with Benjamin Mascolo from Italy and she sings about it in her new song dubbed ‘Phantom.’ The theme follows ‘Shake It,’ a record that sparked controversies. Its clip, which featured Thorne making out with porn star Abella Danger, was briefly taken down by YouTube following its release.
In an exclusive interview, Metro had the opportunity to talk with the star.
How do you feel about the impact that your music is having at this moment?
I feel pretty damn good about it. I love to read tweets or comments and see my fans connect with my music. Every time I get those DMs it makes me so happy.
What theme connects the songs in your album?
It is me and it is my honesty that connects everything. I love to make different types of music because I don’t think everyone listens to the same genre.
Let’s talk about “Phantom.” What message did you want to spread?
I really wanted to do something fun, so I went with this very different dimension universe where you got monsters, people, this and that. I just wanted to find a way to tell the story without doing it in the most obvious way. When you see the video, you will know what I mean. It makes you go back and rewatch it from the beginning to put all the pieces together.
When you are writing, do you think about aesthetics?
Yes. Every time I’m writing I can’t help to think about ideas for the video. And it makes my writing process so much more fun. Bringing my acting world together with my directing and music writing ones is what makes my artistry so different. It makes all layers of my life come together.
You had yours up and down during the career, but always kept looking for your own voice. It seems that right now you found a way to tell us who you really are. How hard was it?
I think we, women, know it is as hard as it ever will be. We all go through this kind of struggle every day. I think we’ve gotten so used to society’s standards and the boxes that people put women in and we see it every day from other people’s perspectives. I think that now is the most important time to fight because people are listening. The time has finally come. We are always preaching the same thing for generations and generations, but now people have open ears and they are willing to listen. And I think now is when we can get the most change done.
So it is always hard, no matter what industry you are in. Walking in the street at night is always going to be hard, walking in an alley is always going to be hard, going to a party with your friends is always going to be hard, getting in an Uber is always going to be hard, all these things in life whether we change society’s standards or not, all these things that we have to face as women are going to be there. No matter what we do. And I think that is what makes it so hard.
You found a way to be respected while searching for your own independence.
It is not easy because you know it takes a lot of time to get respected. You find a lot of people pushing you down and saying she is this, she is that… And it feels like a knife in your ear. It only takes literally one person to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, Bella Thorne is doing herself, she is doing good sh*t, she is sticking out for what is good for her.’ One person. Everyone else adds, “So true, we love her.” Everyone follows the train and wants to get in and agree. You don’t even understand how you feel when that happens. Social media and counter-culture work but it took a lot of time for me to fight while people were talking sh*t. And all of a sudden they love me. I’m glad someone is seeing it now.
What would you say to girls working for Disney, who also are trying to find their own identity?
To each their own. You do you, baby girl. You need to live your life the way you want. Hopefully, you will come to terms with who you are and what you actually want to be and not who everyone is telling you you should be. You may think, I found myself now and I have in a way, but I’m still searching for who I am. That comes with time, growth, experience, age… It takes time no matter what you are doing in life.
As a female content creator, what do you feel about the censorship you have experienced with YouTube and “Shake It.”
I feel angry. It makes me mad. Can someone change this sh*t? Can we change it? Hello, is anyone paying attention?
You are concentrating on music right now, but are you going to keep acting and directing?
Yes, I’ll keep acting. I’m going to do a few things this year. I have some projects. I’m preparing something that I’m acting, directing, and creating. Acting and music are my two main goals as I can do multiple things such as directing and writing in them.
How do you organize your time to have a social life?
I don’t know how, but I’m constantly tired and I think it is good to recognize when you need a break. And I’m not always good at that. So I’m trying to get better at that this year. I like to do so many things but it is very hard. When you do so many things it is all you end up doing, it leaves no room for the other things in life. Everyone just comes and hangs up with me when I am at work. Having friends is hard, I’m not good at balancing.
Your sister has always been with you.
Jenny is the most important person. She really is my everything, the one person I can trust to give me her full opinion without offending me. She has been my protector for so long. We complete each other’s sentences all the time and we are always thinking the same thing. We don’t even have to talk.
You are coming from a Latinx family. Do you identify with this culture?
Definitely. Latin culture is a big part of my life, it always has been and will always be. It is in my blood. I love it. I want to find more ways to celebrate my culture, my father, his family. For the rest of my life, I will be finding ways to do it and get to know the Latinx community because there are more things that get us together than those separating us.