Why Hilaria Baldwin's heritage has become a topic of discussion

CARSON BLACKWELDER and STEPHEN IERVOLINO
·5 min read

Last Monday, a Twitter user posted a viral thread accusing Hilaria Baldwin of a "decade long grift" of faking her Spanish heritage, eventually prompting a reply directly from the yoga instructor.

Responding to the online discussion, Baldwin said she is "a white girl" who is a "mix of many, many, many things" and that her family is also white as well.

"Culturally, I grew up with the two cultures," the 36-year-old said. "It really is simple as that."

Below, view a breakdown of the controversy and how Baldwin -- and those around her -- are addressing the situation.

The claims

The conversation began with Twitter user @lenibriscoe writing, "You have to admire Hilaria Baldwin's commitment to her decade long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person."

They then shared a video in which they claim Baldwin is using a "fake Spanish accent" and one in which they claim "she is pretending not to know how to say cucumber in English." Sharing another clip, they then question where Baldwin's accent went.

The Twitter user also brought up a discrepancy between Google and Creative Artists Agency, the agency that represents Baldwin, who listed her birthplace as Mallorca, an island in Spain. This has since been fixed on Google to list her birthplace as Boston, and her CAA bio has removed the line about her birthplace entirely. Baldwin's Wikipedia page also previously stated that she was born in Mallorca but has been corrected to say she was born in Boston.

Baldwin's 2012 New York Times wedding announcement to her actor husband notes that "she was raised in Boston and Spain; her parents now reside on Mallorca." Baldwin's parents moved to Spain in 2011.

Publications have also referred to Baldwin's Spanish heritage. A 2016 piece in Latina, a magazine covering Hispanic culture, called her a "Spanish star." In 2018, Hola!, a Spanish-language magazine based in Madrid, said she was born in Spain and was set on having her children be bilingual and speak both English and Spanish.

All of Baldwin's five children she shares with the "30 Rock" star -- Carmen, Rafael, Leonardo, Romeo and Eduardo -- have names that are popular in Spanish-speaking countries and Latin cultures.

The Cambridge School of Weston, a private high school in Massachusetts, lists her as a notable alum, but in April 2020, Baldwin told a podcast she moved to the U.S. from Spain to attend New York University at 19.

How Hilaria responded

In the wake of this online chatter, Baldwin has taken to Instagram with two videos in which she addressed many of the issues brought up about her on social media. One notable subject was over her first name, with some having alleged that she changed her name from Hillary to Hilaria in an attempt to sound more Spanish.

“When I was growing up, in this country, I would use the name Hillary, and in Spain I would use the name Hilaria … my whole family called me Hilaria. It always bothered me that neither name sounded good in the other language," Baldwin explained. "A handful of years before I met Alec, I decided to consolidate the two, because it was so many different documents with so many different things."

Regarding her birthplace, Baldwin said she was born in Boston but she "spent some of my childhood in Boston, some of my childhood in Spain." Baldwin also noted that her family "is over there in Spain now, and I'm over here," adding that there "was a lot of back and forth my entire life."

The wellness expert also said she "grew up speaking two languages" and that's why it's important for her and the three-time Emmy winner to raise their kids "so that they speak two languages, too."

"I'm a different kind of Bostonian, and that's who I am. You kinda can’t change your background, nor would I want to. I'm really, really proud of who I am and all my different experiences," Baldwin said. "It might not fit into your cookie cutter or fit into your label, but it's my weird mix of who I am."

"Yes, I am a white girl. And let's be very clear that Europe has a lot of white people in there, and my family is white. Ethnically, I'm a mix of many, many, many things, and culturally, I grew up with the two cultures. It really is simple as that," Baldwin continued. “Ultimately this boils down to this idea where this is a country of a lot of different cultures, and I think we can be different parts of ourselves with lots of different people."

This, she said, matters because it's calling into question her authenticity, and she cannot understand why it's turning into a big deal, so it's "frustrating" that people want to label her.

ABC News reached out to Baldwin's reps and was told she had no comment beyond her posts.

How Hilaria's family is responding

Baldwin's husband took to Instagram to seemingly address the ongoing situation, though he did not specifically mention the controversy itself but instead just asked people to "consider the source."

"There are things that have been said lately about people that I love, that I care about deeply, which are just ridiculous," Alec Baldwin began on Instagram Stories, not mentioning his wife by name.

"We live in a world where we're hidden behind the anonymity of social media, and people feel they can say anything," he continued, They want to spray it all over you and spit it all over you, their venom and their hate."

Baldwin's stepdaughter, Ireland Baldwin, whom the Oscar nominee shares with ex-wife Kim Basinger, also defended her stepmom via Instagram Stories.

"It's so pathetic that anyone would want to play detective and dig that deep into someone's life they don't know anything about, don't know how they were raised, don't know who they were actually raised by," the model began.

"It's just kind of sad and pathetic," she added. "And also, it's like the holidays, people are depressed, people are going through a lot. I know I’m going through a lot personally. And the last thing we really need to do is start s--- and gossip about something is just so, so stupid. And about someone that nobody even really knows."

Why Hilaria Baldwin's heritage has become a topic of discussion originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com