Actress Bella Thorne shared a video on Instagram Friday that she said had been altered to combat the assumption that she is white.
Thorne, a 22-year-old former Disney Channel star, posed in a skimpy white sports bra and white booty shorts in the short clip, which has been viewed 3.6 million times. In an accompanying message, she noted that her father was from Cuba and said she feels connected to her Latin heritage.
However, she complained that she does not fit the “Cuban/Latin” stereotype of “dark eyes, dark hair, and dark skin.”
“I’m naturally blonde I have hazel brown eyes and I try not to go in the sun because skin cancer runs in my family,” Thorne lamented.
To correct the disconnect between her appearance and her identity, Thorne explained, “I put an effect on this video” to make herself appear “tan with darker hair.”
“Honestly I wish I looked more Latin so I could feel more Latin so I could feel closer to my father and be prouder of my heritage…to wear my heritage on my skin,” she went on.
Thorne’s Cuban father died in a motorcycle accident when she was 10 years old. Her mother is mostly of Italian ancestry.
“[I]t’s just hard sometimes when no one thinks u are who u are…and everyone wants u to be something else,” she said, appealing to a growing cultural understanding of identity as an individual choice.
Thorne ended the message by declaring: “I LOVE MY CUBAN HERITAGE.”
Bella Thorne: Cuban feminist?
Thorne, who in 2018 revealed she was sexually abused as a child, often shares revealing photos with her 22.4 million Instagram followers, sometimes in the name of feminist self-empowerment.
Thorne’s latest video came days after musicians Jennifer Lopez and Shakira caused a sensation with their Latin-themed performance during the Super Bowl halftime show.
However, Thorne has touted her Latin credentials before.
In a 2015 interview with Glamour magazine, she said: “To me, being Latin is about more than your looks — it’s how you’re brought up. I was raised in a very Latin family. My first language was Spanish, but I had to drop it when I started school because of my dyslexia. I still understand it, though, especially since my mom uses Spanish to tell me to take out the trash or do the dishes!”
Asked how being Latina has affected her personality, she said: “I’m spicy!”