The Hilaria Baldwin Story Exposes the Hollow Deception of Instagram

Sasha Stone
9 min readJan 2, 2021

But does it even matter?

“In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves.20 That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self.”

Yuval Noah Harari, Lessons for the 21st Century

When the “news” of Hilaria Baldwin first broke on Twitter I assumed it was Twitter doing its usual round of dragging people out into the public square and shaming them. It is repulsive, this aspect of Twitter, and unending. Twitter is a beast that needs to be fed daily, hourly. It will eat anything, but it mostly craves, let’s face it, public humiliation.

By now, the Hilaria Baldwin story has nestled into the tabloids, found its way onto Reddit, and sits vaguely in the minds of people who don’t quite know how to react to it or what to make of it. While some have accused her of cultural appropriation, others are just confused. The only two things most people knew about her was that she was married to Alec Baldwin and she was Spanish.

The whole thing bubbled over after Amy Schumer playfully mocked herself and Hilaria’s photo of her body after her fifth child. Hilaria’s response to Schumer was condescending and defensive — to say that it’s wrong to make fun of her photo and her perfect body. The internet didn’t really like that and thus began the cascade of information that revealed that Hilaria wasn’t Hilaria at all but rather Hillary Hayward-Thomas from Boston whose parents have a fetish for all things Espania while promoting a plant-based lifestyle. Take it from someone who has been following Hilaria’s Instagram from the beginning, the parents have been tucked away and been completely out of sight for the entirety of her life in the public eye. Needless to say, it has all come as a…