On December 21, Twitter user @Lenibriscoe blew up the timeline with a deep dive of Baldwin’s life, specifically exploring her transformation into a Spanish woman over the course of her recent years in the spotlight. The thread tracked the author’s roots, pointing out cracks in Baldwin’s ongoing Spaniard facade.
“You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin’s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person,” read the tweet that started it all.
The thread ultimately started a dialogue about the yoga influencer's Spanish cosplay, with many wondering how she’s gotten away with this for so long and what she has to gain from it. Others pondered if the misrepresentation is cultural appropriation or just extreme cultural appreciation. After all, Baldwin did live in Spain for some time as a child.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Baldwin attempts to explain her side of the story. According to her, she’s never explicitly said that she was Hispanic or that she was born in Spain. Baldwin is bilingual and attributes the various Spanish accents that people may have observed her using over the years to her mood at any given time.
“The things I have shared about myself are very clear,” Baldwin told the New York Times. “I was born in Boston. I spent time in Boston and in Spain. My family now lives in Spain. I moved to New York when I was 19 years old and I have lived here ever since. For me, I feel like I have spent 10 years sharing that story over and over again. And now it seems like it’s not enough.”
Baldwin tells The Times that she has never identified as Spanish or Hispanic, but she has also never corrected the misinformation floating around about her. She’s been on the cover of popular the Spanish-language magazine ¡Hola! twice, and in both appearances, Baldwin was described as as Spaniard. Her Creative Artists Agency biography also reportedly stated that she was born in Mallorca, Spain (that fun fact has since been removed). Even her husband, actor Alec Baldwin, has been in the wrong: He has incorrectly said on multiple occasions that his wife is “from Spain.” And she’s not exactly helping things by calling herself Hilaria when she was born Hillary Hayward-Thomas.
Oddly enough, what’s most disturbing to Baldwin isn’t the fact that her identity has been misconstrued (whether by her own embellishment or that of other people), but the very nature of people questioning her identity in the first place. To her, the current discourse about her roots feels like an invasion of privacy — even though she is the one who’s been sharing all of her business with the world for the past 10 years.
“It’s a very strange thing and you can just be living your life,” said Baldwin in the interview, “When suddenly comments begin to mount suggesting that you, a famous person who has shared so much of yourself with your hundreds of thousands of followers, are not who they thought you to be, and you find your very identity the subject of international debate and skepticism.”
“It’s very surreal,” she continued. “There is not something I’m doing wrong, and I think there is a difference between hiding and creating a boundary.”
A certain level of celebrity does strip A-listers of total privacy and the typical boundaries that one would expect. But Baldwin is a professional influencer who shares the details of her personal life on social media while peddling her books and advertising different products. As she says, it’s not really our business...but it also is because she’s made it our business.
How Baldwin identifies is her personal choice — if she wants to be the Spanish community's Rachel Dolezal, then that's up to her (even if it's wildly problematic and disturbing). But don't be mad at the world for clocking the inconsistencies. It's not our fault that you couldn't keep the game going.