Hilaria Baldwin's Former Coworker Tells Us When Her Spanish 'Grift' & 'Fake' Accent Began

She just showed up to work one day with a Spanish accent asking to be called Hilaria & not Hillary.

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin; TikToker @jyogini Leonard Zhukovsky, lev radin/Shutterstock.com; Canva

By any standard, Hilaria Baldwin lives a charmed life—and not just because she was able to parlay a career as a yoga teacher into becoming the wife of Hollywood legend Alec Baldwin.

When the scandal broke that she had faked her Spanish accent and heritage, she was also lucky enough to get a surprise reprieve nobody could have seen coming.

Just as the uproar over the revelation that Baldwin is actually Boston-born Hillary Hayward-Thomas reached a fever pitch, the January 6 insurrection erupted and knocked her out of the headlines.


Since then, she had been able to return to her life with relatively little blowback for the past two years.

That all changed last week, of course, with the announcement that Alec Baldwin will face involuntary manslaughter charges for the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western movie "Rust."

Since then, Hilaria Baldwin has returned to her public performance, addressing the paparazzi in her put-on Spanish accent—and throwing in a few Spanish phrases too.

And amid the renewed commotion, a figure from Baldwin's past has emerged with quite a story to tell about the controversial celebrity's history.


RELATED: Alec Baldwin Forced To Change 'Concerning' Instagram Caption About Son After Followers Were Appalled

Hilaria Baldwin's former coworker at an NYC yoga studio detailed when her Spanish persona began.

Yoga teacher, musician and TikToker Jill Bayne witnessed Hilaria Baldwin's transition from Boston girl Hillary Hayward-Thomas to supposedly Spanish Hilaria firsthand—and she says it's a "grift."

Bayne worked with Baldwin at Yoga To The People, a now-defunct but immensely popular donation-based Manhattan yoga studio near the New York University campus.

After Bayne opened up about her experience with Baldwin on TikTok, we spoke to her about the details of how Baldwin's persona came to be — and how many people in her life she has fooled.




Bayne, known as @jyogini on TikTok, told her followers she met Baldwin "in 2008 when she was Hillary Lynn Hayward-Thomas of Boston, Massachusetts."

They became "friendly" during Bayne's yoga teacher training at Yoga To The People, or YTTP, during which Baldwin was one of her instructors.

She says Baldwin's "grift" began here—she claimed to be an expert in the Felt Sense Experience Model, a trauma treatment protocol focused on psychology's polyvagal theory.


Baldwin incorporated the protocol into her yoga training to help the future teachers "get in touch with their emotions" and used Bayne as a sort of "guinea pig" to demonstrate it.

Felt Sense requires a certification, however — a credential Bayne says Baldwin did not have, and her use of Bayne's experiences to demonstrate the technique "retraumatized" her.

RELATED: Inside The Theory That Hilaria Baldwin Is Faking Her Spanish Accent Because Alec Baldwin Is Obsessed With Salma Hayek

Bayne says Baldwin returned to work from a 2009 vacation in Spain speaking in a Spanish accent and asking to be called Hilaria instead of Hillary.

Baldwin even enlisted their boss, YTTP founder Greg Gumucio, to formally announce to the studio staff that Hillary would now be known as Hilaria.


But Baldwin told staff they could still call her Hillary if they found Hilaria too hard to pronounce.



And because of YTTP's insular and zealous atmosphere—many former associates, including Bayne, have called Yoga To The People a cult—Bayne says nobody really questioned Baldwin's absurd demand, especially since she was a bit of a "loner" at the studio.

Bayne tells us that she first learned that Baldwin's American ancestry predates the American Revolution — and that she has no immediate ancestral ties to Spain or any Hispanic countries — alongside the rest of us in 2020.


"I did always think the whole thing was odd," she told YourTango exclusively of the persona Baldwin put forward, "So many of us fell for her 'Spanish mami' brand. Looking back, there were so many obvious signs. None of us would have ever thought otherwise."

Bayne herself made sense of Baldwin's new persona with "mental gymnastics," rationalizing that perhaps she'd been Spanish all along and had simply been embarrassed by her accent.

"I always [knew] something was off with her but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Also, she has named all of her kids these elaborate Spanish names. She even compared her own skin color to her daughter's lighter skin color to teach her about MLK," Bayne tells us.

She is referring to a 2019 Instagram post that Baldwin still has on her page. In it Baldwin details how she explained Martin Luther King Day to her daughter, Carmen, using her own skin tone.


She asks her daughter who has darker skin to which Carmen says, "you."

“Is one of us better than the other one? Do you know some people think other people aren’t as good as them because they have different color skin? Isn’t that weird?" Baldwin explains.

The lesson she's trying to teach is certainly a good one — kids ought to know that skin color does not determine worth. But, given that it appears Baldwin is a white woman, the lesson is defunct.


Bayne says Baldwin even began dating Hispanic and Latino men after changing her name to Hilaria.

Soon after her announcement, Baldwin began dating a Colombian man named Eduardo, whom Baldwin called "Edu"—a name that would go on to have special significance.



In September 2020, Hilaria and Alec Baldwin welcomed their fifth child together—a son named Eduardo and nicknamed Edu, now two years old

The Baldwins have seven children in all—sons Rafael Thomas, 7, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 6, Romeo Alejandro David, 4 and daughters Carmen Gabriela, 9, María Lucía Victoria, 2, and Ilaria Catalina Irena, 5 months.


Alec Baldwin also has a daughter, model Ireland Baldwin, 27, with ex-wife Kim Basinger.

Bayne went on to say that Baldwin's new relationship with Eduardo surprised her because she was so close and affectionate toward Gumucio she assumed the two were a couple.

RELATED: 7 Rules Alec & Hilaria Baldwin Have While Raising Their Soon-To-Be 8 Kids

Baldwin's former studio, Yoga To The People, has faced a controversy of its own.

Yoga To The People founder Gumucio was later charged with tax fraud, and has been credibly accused of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment by former employees and members—and Bayne says Baldwin refused to help expose him.


Gumucio, a convicted felon, is a former disciple of infamous Bikram yoga founder Bikram Choudhury, who has also been accused of sexual assault and running a yoga-based cult.

Choudhury fled the United States in 2016 following a raft of lawsuits over accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and racial and homophobic discrimination, among other charges.

In 2020, Instagram account @YttPShadowWork began airing similar accusations of sexual assault, unfair labor practices and racial discrimination against Gumucio, and all of his studios closed shortly thereafter.

Bayne says she "implored" Baldwin, a vocal and public supporter of the #MeToo movement, to "help us expose Yoga To The People," but Baldwin "refused to reply or participate." 




Bayne speculated to us about why she think Baldwin was unwilling to expose YTTP.

"I think first, she doesn’t want the world to know too much about her past, and she needs to be in control of the narrative. I also think she doesn’t want to be associated with controversy or scandal," Bayne says.

In August 2022, Gumucio and his business partners Michael Anderson and Haven Soliman were arrested and charged with a combined eight counts of tax fraud.


The U.S. government says Gumucio, Anderson and Soliman earned more than $20 million from YTTP's fraudulent and illegal business practices.

Bayne says it is the horrifying accusations against YTTP leaders and Baldwin's unwillingness to assist in exposing them that has motivated her to share her experiences.

And she had a direct message for those accusing her of simply engaging in idol celebrity gossip. 


"Calling out liars...[and] seeking justice is not gossip," she said. "I'm not going to stop doing that."

In our conversation, Bayne clarified that calling Baldwin out isn't an attempt to bully or "cancel" her. Instead, it's about accountability.

Bayne says Baldwin was given the chance to apologize but instead chose to double down.

"There’s still a perception out there that she lived [in Spain] part-time growing up, but she didn’t. If she would just take full accountability, there may be some hope for her moving forward in a healthy way, but more importantly, in a way that doesn’t hurt her children," Bayne says.

"As far as people calling her out, or that feel really hurt or offended by her cultural appropriation, I applaud them. Accountability culture is here and it’s here to stay. I don’t think it should be called cancel culture, especially if a person is truly willing to apologize and change. If you double down, we’ll hold you accountable."


Sexual abuse of adults is very common.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reports that every 73 seconds, an American is a victim of sexual violence.

Females are far more likely to be abused and assaulted, and 90% of victims who are adults are women.

This is especially prevalent among women who also happen to be college students, which makes their risk three times greater.

If you or somebody that you know has experienced sexual assault or abuse, there is a way to get help.

Call RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline for confidential 24/7 support at 1-800-656-4673 or chat with them online

RELATED: Inside The Shady Yoga Gurus Beloved By Kate Hudson, Will Smith And Even The British Prime Minister


John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.