Bella Thorne recently told the Hollywood Reporter about an uncomfortable fan encounter she endured while promoting her new movie at the Sundance Film Festival, which opened up a conversation about the actress’s past image.
Thorne, 25, stars in Divinity, a new science fiction thriller that’s been getting good reviews from festivalgoers.
But what stood out most to social media users from Thorne’s interview was her interaction with a fan who insisted she sign a copy of her 2017 GQ cover.
“It was this guy and he was shoving photos in front of me, and I looked away for a second and looked back and there was a photo of me from my GQ magazine cover,” she told the outlet. “It’s super sexy, and my butt is out and I’m wearing lingerie and I’m topless.”
Thorne said she refused to sign the cover and the man pulled out more “sexy images,” including a Candie’s ad Thorne shot in 2014. At the time, Candie’s and Thorne, who was 16, stirred up a conversation over whether it was appropriate to have the underage Disney star model underwear and bikinis.
“I didn’t like it. It was inappropriate,” Thorne said about the fan. “There was some stuff there from a Candie’s campaign that I did when I was 16, and it was clear that he wanted me to sign things that were viewed as sexy and even underage.”
Thorne is no stranger to controversies when it comes to her body. The aforementioned Mexican GQ cover story, which she did when she was 17, was intended to be reclaiming her image. In an Instagram post, Thorne said she had asked photo editors not to retouch the final images. But the point got lost when some people accused her of being racist; claiming her saying “hip hop your asses over the fence and GET OVER IT” was a reference to the U.S.-Mexico border.
More recently, in 2020, Thorne caused the adult-only site OnlyFans to crash when she announced she had a profile. A week later, Thorne announced she hit $2 million in revenue from OnlyFans, but her subscribers accused her of “scamming” them, and sex workers lamented that celebrities who already had a steady income joining the site could negatively affect their jobs.
“I wouldn’t do that now,” Thorne told the Hollywood Reporter about the images. “You also can’t spend your time trying to take back these moments or moments that you were too sexy or think that being a woman is only this or that.”
Thorne isn’t the only actress to regret doing certain photo shoots. Whether it’s certain movie or TV scenes or photo shoots, plenty of actresses — including Jessica Biel, Amanda Seyfried, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci and Selena Gomez — have been public about regrettable past decisions to make themselves look “older” or “sexier.”
But ultimately, Thorne describes her transition into adulthood as relatively easy compared with other celebrities.
“I actually made it out pretty clean,” she said. “I didn’t have really rough issues with mental [health] or get stuck in a really dark place where you don’t want to get out of bed. I mean, I’ve definitely been there, but I have been pretty lucky.”
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