Bella Thorne stopped concerning herself with how the public perceived her right around the time she left the Disney Channel in 2013. She might have made her name at the Mouse House, but those days are already long behind the scrappy 19-year-old actress.
Among her many projects—the horror Keep Watching, out this month, and Amityville: The Awakening, coming in January, to name a couple—she's perhaps best known for not giving a damn in a city where reputation means everything.
Thorne doesn't care what you think about her racy Instagrams or her scantily clad Snapchats. Your thoughts about her breakup with one actor and new romance with another don't faze her one bit. And what did you make of her tweet acknowledging that, yes, she is bisexual? Don’t even bother.
"I used to be upset when I would see the comments," she tells Maxim. "But I've started to realize that they may be going out of their way to make people feel bad about themselves because they have their own insecurities." But even Thorne has a breaking point: "Sometimes I just want to say, 'Fuck 'em, get off my socials, dawg.'"
In L.A., where celebrities are skittish about every sound bite, Thorne knows—and plays to—her massive audience better than almost anyone. And what an audience it is. With 14 million-plus Instagram followers, her fan base surpasses the population of Hong Kong, Ireland, and Fiji—combined.
Perhaps that's what makes the tattooed Florida native feel so refreshing among the hordes of Hollywood strivers. It's rare to find a young star so un unfiltered. "
There's always somebody that tells me to change," she says, "but my fan base likes me because I'm a regular teenage girl, and if you don't like it, don't follow me." She talks about her love of fried food, battling acne, overcoming dyslexia, crushing on singer Demi Lovato, and shunning the Hollywood scene for nights in with friends and her two cats.
Thorne isn't exactly new to the spotlight. She booked her first modeling shoot at six months old and has been working on back lots longer than some of her tween fans have been alive. She's appeared on The O.C., Entourage, Big Love, and MTV's Scream. She's even released an EP and penned three novels.
But Disney is where she first found fame, and her candor is perhaps a rebellion against the pressures she faced as a young actress. "I just wanted to please everybody," she has said of her three years on the wholesome dance show Shake It Up. "I wanted to be what everyone else wanted me to be: the funniest, the prettiest, the most interesting, the one with the sweetest voice, all that shit."
Thorne’s star is sure to rise in 2017. Next year her new TV series, Famous in Love, debuts, and she will appear with Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, and Jessica Chastain in director Xavier Dolan's film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
She'll also star in next summer's Midnight Sun, a romantic drama with Patrick Schwarzenegger, Arnold's son. With her growing fame and refreshingly contrarian attitude, Thorne is fast becoming Hollywood's foremost inside outsider.