Is Hilaria Baldwin Even Latina?
This story about Alec Baldwin’s wife Hilaria hit when I was on vacation. I found myself thinking she was getting too much hate for presenting herself as a Spaniard even though she was born and raised in Boston.
It seemed like people were treating the Hilaria Baldwin story as if she were comparable to Rachel Dolezal, the ethnically Caucasian person who had passed herself of as African-American despite being whiter than a “Friends” reunion. I mean, it wasn’t like Hilaria (nee’ Hillary Lynne Hayward-Thomas) was PRETENDING to be a Latina, right?
According to her Wikipedia page, “Hilaria” is of “English, Irish, French Canadian, German and Slovak descent.”
Gosh! That’s everything EXCEPT Spanish.
I just assumed Alec Baldwin’s wife was a person with some Spanish heritage and decided to really “lean into it.”
I knew a guy in college who claimed he was English and he spoke with an English accent for THREE FULL SEMESTERS! Eventually, it came out from someone who knew him from the high school Model U.N. program that this guy was from a city about 30 miles away and he definitely didn’t speak with any accent in high school.
Is THAT cultural appropriation? How much are you allowed to embrace another culture before you have to worry about accusations of “cultural appropriation”?
There seems to be one MAJOR question all this Hilaria hubbub begs: Did Hilaria Baldwin ever CLAIM to be Latina or Hispanic or of a Spanish background?
This all seems to be a bit of a gray area.
A Buzzfeed writer said, “It does seem like she’s gone to great lengths to never explicitly SAY she’s Spanish. But she has gotten pretty close.”
There are bios of her online that claim she was born in Mallorca, Spain but Hilaria claims she didn’t write those (I wonder WHO could’ve given her own public speaker site THAT information? It’s a real head-scratcher).
There are lots of interviews where she seems to have varying accents. Keep in mind when watching that this was a woman who was born in Boston and only ever went to Spain on family vacations:
There does seem to be some kind of “Spanish-ish” accent going on there but she never actually makes any claims about being Spanish or Latina.
On #MomsTruth podcast, she makes the claim that she moved from Mallorca, Spain to go to college in New York:
The “Spanish” accent isn’t as strong here but it’s clear the other women on the podcast think they’re talking to an immigrant and Hilaria does NOTHING to dispel that misunderstanding.
She’s been on the cover of “Hola!” magazine twice and has been the subject of at least twenty articles in that publication that present her as “Hispanic”, but Hilaria says she hadn’t read those articles. OK, fine…but you’ve been in a “Hispanic” magazine twenty times and you’ve never felt the need (before now) to clarify whether or not you actually are? It seems, in the parlance of the day, very “sus.”
Even in her “clarification” video, she did last week she still seems to be playing up her “identity and culture.” She says she’s been consistent in telling people she was born in Boston and “grew up spending time with my family between Massachusetts and Spain”, WITHOUT clarifying that she only went on family vacations to Spain and her parents only MOVED to Spain in 2011 (aka: “The same year she married Alec Baldwin”).
Verdict? I don’t think I’d put Hilaria Baldwin in the exact same category as Rachel Dolezal. But, it’s clear that, at least by omission, she’s been fine with being perceived as Latina or Spanish or part of a culture not actually hers. Is THAT the kind of cultural appropriation that deserves to be “#cancelled”?
I don’t know because, as I’ve said, I don’t know what the rules of cancel culture actually are.