Bella Thorne is taking a stand when it comes to autographing racy pictures that were taken while she was underage. The Famous in Love alum, 25, told The Hollywood Reporter about an altercation with a man on the street during the Sundance Film Festival when she refused to sign provocative photos he handed her.
“I normally don’t tell them off but they offended me,” she said of autograph hounds. “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. It’s super-sexy and my butt is out and I’m wearing lingerie and I’m topless. I said I wouldn’t sign that and he took it away and then put it back in front of me again. I said, ‘No, I’m not signing that.’ He pulled out another photo of a magazine with another sexy image. He was like, ‘Come on, Bella. Sign it for me.’ I didn’t like it. It was inappropriate.”
The man also presented Thorne with some photographs from the Candies campaign she did when she was 16.
“I was like, ‘Give me something else.’ He said, ‘Aren’t they all sexy?’ No, enough is enough. But I get it, they have to make money and everyone has a job so I get that. It was just that I was under 18 and it’s inappropriate,” Thorne explained.
The former child star says she definitely looks back and rethinks some of the images she was willing to take during her younger years. However, she recognizes she can’t change the way things happened.
“I wouldn’t do that now,” she said, while adding, “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. I also think when you’re growing up, now you have boobs all of a sudden and everything’s growing and become more and more intense. You start liking people and everything changes.”
The 25-year-old also tries to keep things in perspective.
“But for me, I actually made it out pretty clean,” she said. “I could’ve done so many worse things, as so many teenagers do. 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.”
The former Disney star has been open about her road to success. At a young age, she dealt with “crippling anxiety” and started smoking weed, which she credits with helping her quell her stress. Now, she’s the founder of her own cannabis company called Forbidden Flowers, and is a staple on the indie film scene.
Despite her success, Thorne says she has a hard time “being ridiculed for stepping outside of the house,” and that people are quick to put her in a box. It’s an experience that makes her feel “uncomfortable” and unable to “have my own thoughts or opinions.” She has also dealt with misogyny from the media, fielding inappropriate questions from journalists in the past. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Thorne recalled once getting invasive questions linking her past sexual abuse to her sexuality.
“I remember one time I was doing an interview and someone said to me that they thought I was tense or that I liked women because I was raped by a man. I was just like, what a f***ing thing to ask me. I was so baffled. It took me a long time to even respond. I just ended up telling them off,” Thorne said of the experience. “How do you think it’s OK for you to cross the line with me like that that you would bring up these two things in my life and push them together like that. Oh my goodness. What does that say for other people who are in my position?”
Still, Thorne says she doesn’t understand why she’s frequently labeled a controversial figure. Last year, she told the Daily Beast she basically thinks it all comes down to slut-shaming.
“I haven’t been arrested. I’m not doing bad things,” she explained. “Of course, I am a woman, and that definitely plays a part in it. If I post in a bikini, it’s ‘she’s a slut,’ but if a man posts shirtless on a beach, it’s ‘F*** yeah, bro.’ If a man posts with a different girl every other day, it’s ‘F*** yeah, bro, keep getting that p****,’ but if I’m in a three-year relationship, and then break up, and then get into another three-year relationship, it’s ‘Wow, Bella Thorne, she’s a ho. Look at her.’ I’m like, what? I’ve been in long-term relationships my whole life!”