Hilaria Baldwin Says Spanish Culture Is ‘Part of’ Her ‘Whole Life’: Biggest Revelations From Her ‘NYT’ Interview

Clearing the air. Hilaria Baldwin isn’t backing down amid backlash over her rumored appropriation of Spanish culture.

The 36-year-old wellness guru recently came under fire on social media after a Twitter user exposed her alleged “decade-long grift where she impersonates a Spanish person.” Baldwin was born in Boston to parents David L. Thomas Jr. and Dr. Kathryn Hayward, and until roughly 2009, was known as Hillary Hayward-Thomas. She married Alec Baldwin in June 2012, and the pair share five children.

After previously defending herself on social media, Hilaria sat down for an in-depth interview with The New York Times, published on Wednesday, December 30, to share her side of the story.

“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, claiming that it was “very disappointing” to see such misconceptions about her lived experience. “One of the most important places to start is this idea of boundaries.”

Despite making headlines for her supposed “fake identity,” Hilaria thinks she’s been “very clear” about her background. “I was born in Boston. I spent time in Boston and in Spain. My family now lives in Spain,” she explained. “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.”

Not here for the criticism. Alec Baldwin snapped at several Instagram users as questions about wife Hilaria Baldwin’s background continue to make headlines.

Two days prior, the 62-year-old Emmy winner shut down trolls who continued to question his wife’s name change and heritage, posting a Mark Twain quote about lying on his Instagram. “Just please stop insulting people who can see clear facts,” Alec replied to one nasty comment. “She was born in Boston but grew up in Spain. You got it?”

He later told a separate user, “Go f—k yourself.”

Though the couple don’t see any grey area in Hilaria’s story, her former competitive dance partner isn’t as convinced.

“The whole ‘Hilaria’ thing is hilarious to me,” Alexander Rechits, who danced with Hilaria from 2006 to 2009, told The New York Times. “I understand why she did it. It was always her desire to be considered Spanish. She had roots in Spain, her brother lived there, she visited there a lot. But Hillary is a very good strong name, so why would you change that when you were born here and you weren’t born in Spain?”

Rechits teased: “I have a lot of nicknames in Russian. But I’m still Alexander everywhere I go.”

Scroll down for all the biggest revelations from Hilaria’s interview.

Her ‘Hola’ Covers
Despite having been a two-time cover star for the Spanish-language publication, Hilaria claimed that she “didn’t know” that it “repeatedly reported inaccurately that she was a Spaniard” because she never read the articles herself.

Her Cucumber ‘Brain Fart’
The lengthy Twitter thread that sparked Hilaria’s controversy included a clip from a 2015 Today show appearance in which she appeared to forget the word “cucumber.” While speaking with The New York Times, the “Mom Brain” podcast host blamed the confusion on her live TV nerves. “Brain fart,” she joked.

When She Met Alec
Though the 30 Rock alum claimed his wife “is from Spain” in a recently resurfaced 2013 interview with David Letterman, Hilaria asserted that she was upfront with her husband about her heritage when they met in 2011. “I walked by him [and he asked], ‘Who are you, I must know you, I must know you,'” she recalled. “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.”

What Spain Means to Her Family
Hilaria’s father passed down a love for Spanish culture to her, and the “deep, deep, deep bonds” he felt with the country “was something that was part of my childhood.” Now, the European nation feels like her home. “My family, this is where they’ve decided to spend their lives,” she told The Times. “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.'”

Though it happened to be Spain that they chose, Hilaria would have had that same feeling anywhere. “Home is where my parents are going to be,” she said. “If my parents move to China, I am going to go to China and say, ‘I’m going home.'”

There’s No ‘Timeline’
Before her parents settled down in Spain in 2011, Hilaria’s family spent plenty of time there over the years, making it difficult for her to nail down the specifics of their travels. “I think it would be maddening to do such a tight timeline of everything,” she explained. “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.”

After their visits to Madrid, Seville and Valencia, Hilaria and her family would celebrate what they saw when they returned to the U.S., cooking Spanish food and speaking the language. “When we weren’t in Spain, we called it ‘we brought Spain into our home,'” she said.

The Cultural Appropriation Conversation
“Who is to say what you’re allowed to absorb and not absorb growing up? This has been a part of my whole life,” she said of her love for Spanish culture amid accusations that she’s appropriating with her story. “And I can’t make it go away just because some people don’t understand it.”

Though she recognizes that conversations surrounding cultural appropriation are “important,” she doesn’t believe it fits her experience. “As people are able to come out as different parts of themselves and how they identify and have people listen, I think that’s extremely important,” she said.

What’s in a Name?
When questions about Hilaria’s heritage went viral earlier this month, a Twitter user pointed out that her children — Gabriela, Rafael, Leonardo, Romeo and Eduardo — all have Spanish-sounding 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,” the yoga guru told the outlet, noting that she sends her kids to a bilingual school where they learn Spanish.

Hilaria added: “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.”

Building Her Boundaries
Though some social media users have “accused” Hilaria of “oversharing,” she claims her particular use of her platform is a way of setting her boundaries. Despite her influence, she still believes she’s “entitled” to a degree of privacy. “People say, ‘No, you’re not entitled to your privacy because you married a famous person and you have Instagram,'” she said. “Well, that’s not really true.

Source: usmagazine.com