about face

Cover star Bella Thorne get­ting glam on the set of our live cover shoot

ELLE (Canada) - - News - By Aliyah Shamsher Pho­to­graphs by Max Aba­dian

When I ar­rive at Bella Thorne’s gated En­cino fam­ily home in Los An­ge­les, her friend an­swers the door (I later learn he’s part of her tight-knit “crew” of friends) and two dogs— one very large wolf-husky mix (Voodoo) and one very small teacup Ha­vanese (Kingston)—come bar­relling out. Be­fore I have time to ask him his name, he dis­ap­pears to fetch Thorne as Voodoo and Kingston jump en­thu­si­as­ti­cally around my feet.

Mo­ments later Thorne ap­pears, a large Jamba Juice in hand, barefaced and dressed in a sim­ple black jer­sey dress and grey-and-pink fuzzy robe. She gives me a big hug and im­me­di­ately apol­o­gizes for her ap­pear­ance. She had a late night with friends, she says, an evening that in­cluded a Domino’s pizza party/fight while they watched a UFC match.

We even­tu­ally set­tle at the kitchen ta­ble, which is cov­ered with rem­nants of the food fight. Voodoo lies down at my feet (I’ve been in­formed he thinks he’s a cat), while Kingston bounces be­tween my chair and the one next to me, ea­gerly await­ing pats.

I’m in­stantly struck by how real this all feels—not “Hol­ly­wood real” but hang­ing-at-your-friend’s-house-watch­ing-Net­flix real. Thorne’s older brother Remy and her best friend, whom she af­fec­tion­ately calls “Bella P.,” ar­rive later and join the con­ver­sa­tion, chat­ting about Hades, their new husky puppy (who spends the rest of the in­ter­view ly­ing be­side Thorne), and what their plans are for the day. It’s all so easy—that is un­til Remy spots my recorder and says, “Wait, this is be­ing recorded?”

Thorne’s un­apolo­getic quest for re­al­ness has gar­nered her al­most 10 mil­lion diehard fans who fol­low her ev­ery move on Twit­ter, Instagram and Snapchat. Whether it’s movie nights with friends, bak­ing at home with her mom or even dur­ing our live cover shoot, this 17-year-old actress isn’t in­ter­ested in man­u­fac­tur­ing some imag­ined ver­sion of per­fec­tion.

In typ­i­cal Thorne style, she looks me right in the eye and says: “I’m not a ba­sic B, and I don’t just post pretty self­ies. But when I post things that are re­ally ugly back to back—I did th­ese car singing videos that are just hor­ren­dous—then, yeah, I’ll post that selfie, just to re­mind peo­ple that I’m still at­trac­tive.” Seven min­utes in and we can’t stop laugh­ing. It’s easy to see why so many are ob­sessed with her.

Thorne says she’s thank­ful to be able to connect with her fans on h

such a per­sonal level, but the Dis­ney Chan­nel teen star ad­mits that she has her share of haters. “Be­cause I’m from ‘the Chan­nel,’ ev­ery­one ex­pects me to be overly in­no­cent, but I’m very up­front with my teenage fans. They know who I am; I’m just like them,” she says. “It’s re­ally sad that right now ev­ery­thing you say has to be rude, racist or sex­ist. Usu­ally I’m just mak­ing fun of my­self—that’s why I opened my public Snapchat. Now I can post what I want with­out peo­ple get­ting so butt-hurt about it.”

Thorne’s on­line fol­low­ers aren’t the only ones who are crit­i­cal of her life— or fash­ion choices. “I hate the way the me­dia says ‘We just want to see the real Bella; we just want her to be a regu­lar teenager,’” she says. “Well, you’re not let­ting me be that by call­ing me a slut be­cause I’m wear­ing high­waisted shorts; you’re not let­ting me when you spec­u­late about what I’m do­ing at Coachella. Teenagers go to Coachella; teenagers some­times wear re­veal­ing clothes—it’s part of grow­ing up and find­ing out who you are.”

At this point, two cats ar­rive at the ta­ble: Louie (she calls him her son: “Oh, my gosh, look how cute my son is!”) and May, who stomps across my notepad be­fore leap­ing off the ta­ble. Even with all this re­al­ness, I ask her if she’s find­ing it hard to main­tain a sense of bal­ance be­tween what she chooses to share with fans and what she would like to keep pri­vate. “Ev­ery­one goes through phases, and my phase right now is ‘I just don’t give a....’” She pauses be­fore mouthing the word “fuck.” “What I’m about just doesn’t work for some peo­ple. But if you don’t like me, I re­ally don’t care.” h

Silk blouse with in­te­grated scarf (Emanuel Un­garo), cot­ton skirt (Ni­cholas K), di­a­mond ear­rings (Leti­cia Lin­ton) and di­a­mond and 14-karat-gold star ring and di­a­mond and 18-karat-rosegold striped ring (Le Vian). All bracelets, Bella’s own. Right: Di­a­mond and 14-karat-gold star ring (Le Vian)


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