Annabella Avery Thorne, AKA, Bella Thorne, has been preparing to be a Hollywood actor since she was four years old. Long before she landed roles in Dirty Sexy Money” and “Shake It Up” Thorne won a Young Artist Award for her role in “My Own Worst Enemy” in 2009 at the mere age of seven.
Shortly after, she was awarded Best Young Actress at the Teen Choice Awards. During Thorne’s adolescent years, she earned recognition from both preteens and teenagers across the country for her performance as the lovable, vibrant and charismatic CeCe Jones in the popular Disney Channel show “Shake It Up.”
>Thorne is an entrepreneur with extraordinary skills: She acts, sings and directed an adult film, “Her and Him,” for Pornhub’s Visionaries Director’s series. And she wrote a best-selling novel and now owns her very own cannabis brand, Forbidden Flowers.
Three summers ago, Thorne revealed to Good Morning America that she identifies as pansexual.
It’s safe to say her career as a young actor launched with promise; and now it’s officially going strong as she takes on the world. She opened her own cannabis business while remaining committed to her multi-hyphenated, artistic career.
Bella Thorne beat the odds — and the typecasting. She seems to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She is a badass chick who never gave up on her goals.
Now at the age of 25, Thorne has three new movies being released, a whopping 24.5 million Instagram followers, 19 cats that live in a castle she designed herself, a badass cannabis brand and Post-it Notes with motivational phrases on her bathroom mirror to help keep negative thoughts at bay.
In this exclusive interview with GO Mag, Bella Thorne discusses acting, her cannabis brand, the difficulties she encountered after working for the Disney Channel, the support she received from fans after coming out as pansexual, and more.
GO Magazine: Hey Bella, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today! What difficulties did you face when you transitioned from an actress on Disney to taking on more serious roles?
Bella Thorne: Surprisingly, I was actually 14 during the filming of “Big Sky.” I played someone suffering from agoraphobia, so it was a difficult role to play. I was doing serious work before Disney.
But once I stopped acting for Disney, it was like stepping back into a piece of home for me. It was difficult for the industry to call me in after Disney, though, because obviously that channel paints a certain stigma. The same casting directors that would pin me beforehand would no longer cast me afterward.
So it took a long time, around two years, for people to be like, “OK, she’s a serious actor,” which is kind of ridiculous in general because I’ve met a lot of talented actors who’ve acted on Disney’s TV shows. When you work for them, by the way, you’re working your ass off. The hours are insane.
GO: Your acting career began at a really young age, wow. Do you believe that helped or hindered the successful life you have built for yourself?
BT: There are positives and negatives to starting so young in the industry. The younger you are, the more opportunities you must seek out in order to create a name for yourself. However, the younger you are, the easier it is for the movie industry to attempt to put you in a box — they tell you how you are supposed to look, dress, act, eat and so on.
This can be hard on younger children; it happened to me. So I have to say that, yes, I do feel that starting at a young age did hinder my success after I took the leap and left Disney — people only saw me in that light and not for who I actually was.
GO: Since you’re more than just an actress, what career path do you find most enjoyable?
BT: I am a multifaceted person, so I like expressing myself through many creative careers. That is why I want to act, sing, write, direct (laughs). You name it and I will probably do it!
Mainly, I like having the ability to ensure that every day is different. I wake up and choose what I want to do, and that’s the best part. I also get real pleasure in running my many businesses as an entrepreneur.
GO: When you came out as pansexual, did you receive any negative, homophobic comments?
BT: When I told the world that I identify as pansexual, most people didn’t fully understand it. And they still don’t know what pansexual means — I’ve been asked for the definition more times than I can count. But my fans were so supportive and I’m very thankful for them.
I am a brave person but when you announce something on public television, everyone hears it. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I am grateful no one belittled or criticized me for who or how I’m attracted to other human beings.
And I remember feeling the love and support, which made me feel like everything was going to be alright. At the end of the day, everything is okay — I’m okay.
GO: In your novel, “The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray,” quite a few of your experiences resonated with me. I also had a wild child lifestyle and a series of unbearable struggles throughout my teen and adult years. But we are strong: We don’t let our vulnerability break us; instead, we allow it to make us stronger. Can you tell me more about the depression you are battling?
BT: I feel like I have a pretty good quote in my book that describes depression and the way it feels for me: “I know that depression is something that is always going to be in and out of my life, and something I have to worry about when it kicks in. The best thing that gets me through those times when anxiety creeps its ugly head around the corner is reminding myself that it’s just a bad day, bad week, bad two weeks, whatever… but that it will pass. It always passes, and you always feel better. Sometimes it just takes a little longer.”
GO: Makes sense. So when did you first smoke cannabis?
BT: My brother first recommended that I try smoking cannabis due to health conditions. I had a ton of anxiety, insomnia and stomach issues. I want to say I started smoking occasionally when I was about 15. I didn’t start smoking regularly until age 19… and that’s when I became a stoney baloney.
I became more active in the cannabis industry and started educating myself on weed’s positive health and physical benefits. Not long after that, I had the idea to create my own brand, which led me to developing my brand Forbidden Flowers with Glass House Group.
GO: Forbidden Flowers has beautiful packaging, right down to the prerolls themselves. How much are you involved in the decision-making process?
BT: I was involved in every little detail when it came to the creation of Forbidden Flowers. I wanted the brand to be an unwavering representation of me and my free spirit. That is why the packaging is fun, flirty, sexy, cheeky and daring.
I also wanted the brand to be unique and stand out amongst other cannabis brands.
We are one of the first brands to fully make our own custom packaging. Many brands in the business white-label their products. But at Forbidden Flowers we made everything ourselves, which I believe makes us stand out even more.
GO: Can you tell us more about how the cannabis for your brand is grown?
BT: I teamed up with Glass House Farms and the Glass House Group to curate my line of cannabis. Glass House Farms is an end-to-end, fully sustainable greenhouse. They specifically grow in sparkling, clean and eco-friendly greenhouses that maximize the coastal sun and climate and use sustainable methods to prevent pests and diseases that tamper with quality.
Growing cannabis is more time-consuming and strategic than growing something like ornamental flowers, because every little misstep from the earliest clone stage to the final cure and packaging can show up in the finished product.
There’s a million things that have to go right, and that’s why the growers’ expert knowledge on the plants and environment is key to producing outstanding products.
GO: The cannabis and CBD industry is infamous for being male-dominated, with a large number of men holding executive positions. In your experience, what’s it like running a female-founded pot company?
BT: I think running a female-founded cannabis company is very empowering. I believe it showcases that women can lead in a male-dominated industry. I also hope it inspires other women to get more involved.
In my experience, I’ve found it’s actually a particularly woman-friendly environment and has a higher percentage of working women when compared with many other industries. More so, I hope younger entrepreneurs feel capable, because they are, of chasing their dreams no matter how out of the status quo they may seem.
GO: Do you have any advice for women who are starting up or already operating marijuana businesses?
BT: I would tell them to find a unique value proposition that sets their cannabis business apart from the rest. In the industry, you see similar colors, logos and packaging that makes it almost impossible to stand out from other brands. If you can find what makes your cannabis business unique from the rest and capitalize on that, you are already ahead of the game.
GO: I heard that Snoop Dogg referred to you as his niece on Instagram, and we need to know, how did that relationship develop?
BT: Our friendship started when our good friend Dave O. introduced us. He said, “Snoop, you’re going to love this girl.” And the rest is history. He is like my cousin, bestie and godfather all rolled up into one — no pun intended.
GO: Can we expect any Bella and Snoop collaborations in the near future?
BT: Probably somewhere in the future. He and I want to work on some music together, and I am sure our relationship will expand in so many other aspects of our lives.
GO: Your life sounds fascinating, but do you have any regrets?
BT: I don’t believe in regrets. Through my mistakes, I have found out who I truly was and what I wanted. Why would I waste my time reflecting on the things I have done wrong or the opportunities I did not take? It is not worth my time to reminisce on the past. I’d rather focus on the future.
GO: Where do you want to be in your career five years from now? Any goals you hope to accomplish?
BT: You can only plan so much before you kind of let the universe guide you, because that’s where the real magic happens! I have launched many new things from my music, writing and business brands. I really want to make sure those are absolutely pristine before moving on to my next adventure.
However, I don’t know when my next creative spark will hit me. I do know that I’m constantly evolving and changing, and one thing I am clear on is that I do see myself creating a Hollywood studio in my future.