Bella Thorne tells HELLO! Online how watching mum's struggle gave her ambition

It's easy to forget that Bella Thorne is only 17 years old. Poised, comfortable in her own skin, and wise enough to pause and think before answering a question, the star of upcoming high school film The DUFF seems older than her years.

She's already accomplished a lot in her short life - after breaking out on a Disney show, she's now working alongside the likes of Drew Barrymore and Steve Carell. So where does Bella's ambition come from?

"I guess I grew up with it – I grew up hungry. I was not raised as a rich kid or anything like that," she tells HELLO! Online.

Growing up the youngest of four children with a single mum - Bella's father passed away when Bella was a child - she adds: "So it was me, my mom - a single parent raising four kids - and I think I probably got my hunger from her, from watching her struggle."

Bella Thorne at the London photocall for The Duff

Bella shares her everyday life - from road trips and dinner with friends, to her new romance with Pamela Anderson's son Brandon - with her nearly six million Twitter followers and four million Instagram fans. How does she stay secure and confident when she opens her life up to so much scrutiny?

After a slight pause, she says: "Look, imperfections are what makes you beautiful. I know that sounds cheesy but honestly, it’s so true."

"People literally tell me, 'you're lucky you’re pretty' because my laugh is so horrendous - and I embrace it all the time, I laugh in people’s faces!

"But those are things you have to embrace. You will find people in your life who, if you are truly you, and not trying to impress anybody, not trying to be anybody else, you will find people who like you for that.

"My best friend, Bella, is also a weirdo... and she loves that about me, she loves all the quirky things and I do too, and those are the people that you’ll find in life."

Bella gets a hug from friend Zendaya Coleman, who showed up to the Blended premiere in 2014 to support her friend

The young actress first found fame on the Disney channel, working with Zendaya Coleman on TV show Shake It Off.

The pair are still good friends and support each other across social media - after Zendaya recieved an apology from Guiliana Rancic for her "outrageously offensive" hair comments, Bella instagrammed: "How beautiful did my babygirl look!? @zendaya workkkkkkkk".

In Blended, Bella showcased her comedic skills, while the upcoming Amityville: The Awakening was a dream come true for the horror fan - "I love horror films, I watch so many!"

Good news then, since she will also take on a role in the new TV series based on the Scream franchise.

The DUFF however, follows Mae Whitman's Bianca, a high school senior who decides to change the social pecking order at her school after discovering that she is a D.U.F.F - designated ugly fat friend.


Nobu with this one @brandon__lee

A photo posted by BELLA (@bellathorne) on

Bella stars as Madison, a cold-hearted and aloof mean girl - "my attitude is very much... not mean behind your back, I'm just mean the whole time!"

She adds: "I love the message behind [the film]. It’s very interesting, putting everybody in a box - and you’ll always be labelled your whole life, and it’s kind of your job to play around with that box and prove to people that you can be more than that."

Now, as well as Drew and Steve, Bella has been working with Emmy winner Allison Janney and Ioan Gruffud - but she's quick to point out that that while she admires their careers she doesn't want them.

"I want my own career. I want to be the first to do something - that’s what I look forward to," she admits

Bella Thorne in The DUFF

She's clearly admired by teenagers across the globe, but growing up in front of the camera does mean that Bella has missed out on some typical teenage experiences.

"I haven’t gone to high school, I’ve been home schooled since third grade... every time I play a film where I have to be in high school I just want to touch those lockers!"

Madison's wardrobe was inspired by Bella's own - lots of jeans, boots, and leather jackets - and she admits that on a normal day for her, she can be found in comic book T-shirts and jeans. The Marvel universe has to be one that she'd love to be part of then?

"Oh my god yeah. Are you kidding? I’m a little bit of a feminist myself, so I believe in women being bad ass.

"One of my favourite animations is Brave, because in Brave, she does not need no guy! She's like, 'bye, yeah, see ya later, I’m going to do this on my own!' so yeah I love female superheroes because they don’t need a superman in their life."

Bella Thorne with her co-stars

A multi-hyphenate - actor, author, and musician - Bella is also something of a perfectionist. When asked about her long-awaited debut album, she admits that she refuses to put out "bad music".

"I signed this contract with Hollywood Records and I told them I would not put this album out until my voice was good and I had worked on it because there was no way I was putting out auto tuned bad music.

"My father always told me, 'if you’re going to do something, you better not do it half-assed, you have to be the best at what you do'."

The DUFF is out in cinemas in the UK on 6 April 2015.