Hilaria/Hillary insists she was “misrepresented” — but not by herself.
Hilaria Baldwin was the subject of many hilarias tweets this week after being accused of a “decade long grift” of impersonating a Spaniard when she was, in fact, a Bostonian.
On Wednesday, the mom-of-five set the record straight in an interview with the New York Times, in which she denied hiding anything, blamed others on misrepresenting her, detailed why her accent comes and goes, explained why she couldn’t remember the English word for “cucumber”, and confirmed husband Alec was aware of her true heritage (in fact, it was one of the first things she ever told him).
“Today we have an opportunity to clarify for people who have been confused — and have been confused in some ways by people misrepresenting me,” she said.
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On accusations of hiding her true identity: “It’s very surreal… There is not something I’m doing wrong, and I think there is a difference between hiding and creating a boundary.”
“The things I have shared about myself are very clear… 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.”
Why she has a Spanish accent in some videos, but not in others: It depends on how happy or upset she is feeling.
Why ¡Hola! repeatedly described her as Spanish, including in two of her cover stories: She didn’t know they had, as she never reads articles about herself (a spokesperson for the magazine declined to comment).
Why her C.A.A. bio said she was Spanish: Someone at the agency must have used unverified information from the internet. “I rarely at all work with C.A.A. now… It was very disappointing.” (a spokesperson for the agency declined to comment).
Why she didn’t know what the English word for “cucumber” was in that retrospectively awkward video clip: She got confused and had a “brain fart”, because it was one of her first times on TV and she was nervous.
Why she wasn’t overly forthcoming about details of her upbringing: To protect the privacy of her US-born, Spain-based parents.
On being overly forthcoming about details of her children’s upbringing: “We have this thing called oversharing, which I’ve actually been accused of… My children are young enough and I’m just sharing sweet little things of them.”
On whether husband Alec knows about her true heritage (despite that cringey David Letterman video doing the rounds): It was actually one of the very first things she told him the night they met, when he overheard her talking Spanish to an Argentinian couple.
“I walked by him,” she said of the actor, who called out: “‘Who are you, I must know you, I must know you.’ He said ‘Where are you from?’ And I said, ‘I’m from Boston.’ That was the first thing I said, that has always been my narrative.”
Whether she wanted her heritage to ever be part of her public persona: “I want to talk about the things I am passionate about… My intention is not to be an American TV personality. My intention is not to be a Spanish TV personality. My intention is to talk about health and fitness and being a mom.”
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Why she refers to traveling to Spain on social media as “going home”: “Home is where my parents are going to be… If my parents move to China, I am going to go to China and say, ‘I’m going home.'”
On how much time she actually spent in Spain as a child: “[Spain] was something that was part of my father’s childhood… He would go there when he was younger and created these deep, deep, deep bonds and it was something that was part of my childhood. It was something my father introduced to my mother when they met, when they were pretty young.”
“I think it would be maddening to do such a tight time line of everything. You know, sometimes there was school involved. Sometimes it was vacation. It was such a mix, mishmash, is that the right word? Like a mix of different things.”
“My family, this is where they’ve decided to spend their lives… I guarantee you they are going to live there and they are going to die there. That’s their home and that’s because this is not something new, no one put a map up on the wall and threw a dart at it and said, ‘Oh, Spain sounds good.'”
On accusations of cultural appropriation: “Who is to say what you’re allowed to absorb and not absorb growing up? This has been a part of my whole life… and I can’t make it go away just because some people don’t understand it.”
Why people believe she lied about her heritage, rather than her just being a person steeped in two cultures: “People don’t have the attention span for that kind of thing.”
Why her children have Spanish names: “Where is the smoking gun? My intentions are I’m living my life and my life is created by my parents, my different experiences, my languages, my culture and, yeah, my kids do have very Spanish-influenced names… You want to know what? Their names are after people who were important to me, they’re not names that we pulled out of a hat. All my kids’ given names, the first names, are all from people in my life, and they have my husband’s last name. And we were very thoughtful about it. Especially the second name, sometimes the first name is something that sounds for me, good in both languages.”
Why she goes by Hilaria, rather than her real name of Hilary: Family members have called her Hilaria most of her life, and as she got older she wanted to settle on one version.
“You are entitled to your privacy,” she added. “I am entitled to my privacy. People say, ‘No, you’re not entitled to your privacy because you married a famous person and you have Instagram.’ Well, that’s not really true.”
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