On December 21, a tweet dropped that has unleashed a level of f-ckery and chaos not seen since Dominic West wore his “f-cking around in Rome” clothes home to pose in front of paps by the bushes with his wife. It’s about Hilaria Baldwin, wife of epic blowhard Alec Baldwin.
You have to admire Hilaria Baldwinâ€™s commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person— elena ilana alana alina elana (not) (@lenibriscoe) December 21, 2020
My first reaction was, at first, incredulous. I have never picked up on it but I’m not very smart and, apparently, it’s much talked-about in Reddit threads and mommy chatrooms. Hilaria (Hillary) has switched her accent up over the years, sometimes appearing on American television with a pronounced Spanish accent and sometimes speaking with American enunciation.
This is an explanation video she posted over the weekend. Please compare and contrast with her TV appearances (yes, the infamous cucumber video is here).
Let’s start with her name: in her Instagram video, she says her family calls her Hilaria and that’s why she changed it (from Hillary). People change/adjust their names all the time, so I don’t know if this is a big deal on its own, but it’s part of a larger Hilariaä branding package.
She explains away her changing accent by saying she mixes Spanish and English when she’s nervous and upset and she’s “insecure” about it. Please. The “I’m weird and shy” play is not something I’m buying. Speaking multiple languages is an incredible skill and absolutely no one on Twitter is shading that, she is just making it seem like she’s being shamed for being bilingual. No one is doing that and she’s deflecting from the point that the presentation of her bilingualism is exaggerated. She also said she’s tried to correct reports she was born in Spain and it’s reporters’ fault for getting it wrong. Crying “fake news!” from the Baldwin house? Ironic.
If it’s so important for her to clarify and she’s so transparent, why does her CAA page have her bio wrong? It says she was born in Mallorca. Where on earth would they get that information? Someone had to specify that, no?
Why did she say on a podcast that she moved to NYC for college and thus didn’t understand American cultural references? The podcast hosts ask where she moved from and she said her parents live in Mallorca, but she never specifies where she moved from. Pretty slippery!
This is all so entertaining and dumb because how did she get away with it for this long? As the Twitter drama heated up, even her second cousin weighed in. (This is why you don’t piss off cousins. They know all of the family secrets. They are unpredictable. You never know which way a cousin will go.)
Cousin Ryan (who is not getting SNL tickets anytime soon) also specified Hillary/Hilaria would travel to Spain for “frequent” holidays growing up. (Before COVID, I traveled pretty regularly with my family and we go to Hawaii two to three times a year. I regret to say I am still not Hawaiian!)
Do people set out to create a fake persona, starting with an accent or a name? I don’t know if it’s a conscious choice or just something that happened when young Hillary went off to New York and decided to lean into the time she spent in Spain, as any insecure 19-year-old would. It’s like a Canadian who goes to London for two weeks and starts saying “rubbish” and “lift” and “flat.” Pretentious but ultimately harmless. (Click here if the below embed does not show up)
But she has moved beyond that in her career. Analyzing how she spun a very put-on European accent into a semi-influencer career with cooking videos and lifestyle appearances, while having a large brood of children with Spanish names, is a jokey thing, but Latin women are massively underrepresented in media. Accents (particularly for PoC characters) are a way of “othering” people and played as a punchline. (Click here and here if two embeds below don't show up)
The fact that Hilaria is taking up space under a false identity is understandably maddening. She’s already married to a celebrity and could use that to get a cooking segment on a morning show. NBC owes Alec all kind of favours, so she didn’t need the fake accent to get on The Today Show.
And Alec, who has never shut up about anything in his life, is of course about to pop a blood vessel with this. He did an Instagram Live during which he didn’t mention it directly, but instead left us with this meme-able moment. (Click here if the below embed doesn't show up)
This is exactly the kind of adrenaline rush we need for the hazy week between Christmas and January 1. Gracias, Baldwinitos!