With Instagram, Twitter, and the like providing constant peeks into celebrities' lives, it can be easy to feel like you know someone — or that you can judge their actions, based off what they tweet, snap, or 'gram. So when stars like Bella Thorne are open on social media to the extreme, posting frequent personal looks into their worlds, it tends to raise some eyebrows; why would any famous person choose to share that much with the public? But as Midnight Sun star Thorne tells Bustle in a recent phone interview, she's an open book on social media for a good reason.
"So many people have had this image of me in their head for so long, growing up on Shake It Up, and I want that image to change," says Thorne. "I want them to not just see the funny girl that was on that Disney show when she was younger. I want them to see a real adult that means business. That's sitting in front of them and [being] ready to literally try and help anyone change the world and do anything better."
With her honest, revealing posts, Thorne is most certainly attempting to do just that. She's used Twitter and Instagram to share revealing selfies, come out as bisexual, and even open up about being sexually abused as a child and teen. After sharing her experience, Thorne received many messages from people sharing their own survivor stories, which she spoke about on her Snapchat story the next day.
Clearly, Thorne's honesty has a real impact. And when a celebrity is authentic about his or her life online, "it's a form of connection," the actor says, allowing for fans to not feel alone in their own struggles. "I want people to just see me and be like, 'oh sh*t. She's like me in so many ways,'" she adds. "That's why I'm always so open about everything I do."
Echoing Thorne's own candidness, her character in March 23's Midnight Sun, Katie Price, lives her life open and willing to take risks — at least after she falls in love with Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Katie has a rare disease called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), which causes sufferers to have a 100 percent chance of getting skin cancer if exposed to UV rays, among other ailments. As such, Katie's illness affects every aspect of her life, and playing a character dealing with such major issues clearly affected Thorne, too.
"I really hope that [audiences] take away the meaning of the film, which for me was stop taking little things for granted," says the actor. "Stop saying I'm gonna do it tomorrow or I'll do it later. Do it right now... We may be screwed up emotionally or going through something or have this problem or that, but at the end of the day, you're alive and that's the thing not everyone can say."
Thorne's Midnight Sun co-star Patrick Schwarzenegger, feels similarly about the movie's message. "This character that can't go out in the sun, that's something that 99.9 percent of us take for granted everyday," Schwarzenegger tells Bustle over the phone. "Take a second and try and be appreciative for small things that we don't even think about."
For Thorne, taking on Midnight Sun wasn't just about developing a new mindset, but also about exploring a father-daughter relationship on-screen. As she's spoken about on social media, Thorne's own father died in a motorcycle accident when she was nine, and her relationship with her on-screen dad, Jack Price (Rob Riggle), was part of the reason she was drawn to the film.
"When I read the script, I was in love with the relationship between Katie and her father. I've always wanted a relationship like that," explains Thorne of the characters' tight bond. "When I met Rob Riggle, we just got along so well, and he definitely was that [father figure] for me. He was so sweet and we just bonded like a father and daughter would."
Thorne's openness about her personal struggles, whether it's in regards to family tragedy or her sexual orientation, can be off-putting for some — as she said herself in a recent interview with ABC, people sometimes view her as too brash or outspoken. But the good her vocalness has done for fans in need is undeniably admirable, and luckily, it looks like Thorne has no plans to stop sharing anytime soon.