BEFORE THE 90 DAYS Cleo explains accent and nationality. Is she really from Italy?

90 Day Fiance Before the 90 Days transgender woman Cleo Corraine

90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days star Cleo Corraine is the second trans cast member in the history of the 90 Day Fiance franchise. However, it isn’t Cleo’s gender that is generating the most online buzz among fans — it’s her accent!

It’s revealed on the show that Cleo is from Italy, and she is currently living in London, England. Cleo’s accent certainly isn’t a conventional Italian accent, and there’s also the fact that her accent seems to change sometimes depending on who she is talking to.

Here’s a clip of Cleo from the show:

Cleo has been aware of the questions swirling online, so she recorded a YouTube video with answers! The video is just over 25 minutes long, and also includes Cleo putting on makeup.

“One thing that I really did not expect people [would be] talking about or speculating about a lot is my accent, and whether I’m Italian or not,” Cleo says.

Despite being surprised by the conversations, Cleo concedes that she does understand “why some people may find my accent a little weird,” especially in comparison to most Italian accents in the movies.

She begins her explanation by pointing out that London is an incredibly diverse city. When living there you are surrounded by people speaking English from a wide variety of ethnicities and nationalities — and accents.

Also, Cleo says she had a learning disability in addition to being autistic, and the way that she learned to speak English was not in a classroom or tutorial setting — even though she did have some English classes.

Cleo found it easier to learn English “mostly through watching media and listening to music and so on.” As you are likely aware, London can’t compare to the amount of diversity available via media and music on the internet!

“Obviously, you’re gonna get all sorts of accents on TV,” Cleo says. “You’re gonna get a British accent, you’re gonna get and Australian accent, you’re gonna get and American accent, and so on and so forth. So when you’re learning English from media, you get a variety of accents that you learn from.”

“I learned English as a second language,” Cleo continues. “My first language is, of course, Italian and when I started learning English, I did have a little bit more of, I guess, an Italian accent. But, obviously, that changed with time.”

“Some people have said and commented that my accent kind of changes as I talk to different people on the show,” Cleo states. She points out that she is autistic, and “one of the diagnostic criteria for autism is a very unique tone and manner of speech.”

Sometimes we have stilted speech, which means having a really rigid kind of, like, almost too wordy kind of way of expressing ourselves. And also just using very unique vocabulary that isn’t necessarily used by other people, or unique ways of saying, or having an accent that is different from other people around us and the people we were raised by. That is literally a diagnostic criteria for autism.

Why does Cleo’s accent change from person to person?

Cleo brings up masking, which is common among those with autism. Here’s part of what she had to say, which goes a long way towards explaining her different accents with different people:

Masking isn’t necessarily A diagnostic criteria [for autism] as far as I remember, but it is really well known and observed — both scientifically by experts, and also by the autistic community.

What masking entails is the fact that autistic people tend to mirror the people in front of them. So, if they’re talking to somebody that has a specific accent or a specific way of talking — because we’re almost like ‘neutral,’ we start from this neutral starting point.

So, we have to mask the other person. It’s a way that we’ve learned through life in order to be accepted and be included with society, which is really hard for us normally.

So masking is a strategy that a lot of people — autistic people — adopt, consciously or unconsciously, to be made part of society in a way that is more easily digestible by other people.

Masking can include acting in a way that is similar, or mirroring behaviors or a way of talking that other people have. But it can also entail mirroring other people’s accents and tone of voice.

Cleo reveals that when she was growing up she was made fun of because of how she talked.

People said that I had a ‘weird’ accent that was not like my peers. It was not like a local dialect, not like the local way of talking. It did not match up with the way other people were talking, and I was bullied a lot for that actually. So, I worked really hard to sort of have more of a dialect, or local accent, but it never quite landed the right way or exactly how other people talked and it always stayed something that people made fun of.

So yeah, I always had a weird accent, even when I was speaking in my own language, not just English. Having stilted speech or a unique accent is a really, really typical autism trait. Especially for somebody that speaks a second language — that’s even more typical.

That’s why I don’t have a typical Italian accent. That’s why my accent is not stereotypical.

Is 90 Day Fiance Before the 90 Days trans star Cleo really Italian?

Is Cleo really from Italy?

Thanks in part to her accent(s), and also to her physical appearance, some conspiracy minded 90 Day Fiance fans are arguing that Cleo isn’t actually from Italy.

“I just find the fact that people are essentially saying, ‘Oh she can’t possibly be Italian. She doesn’t look Italian. She is hiding her true nationality.’ I just find that really, really funny,” Cleo says.

“What people are saying is that I’m from Finland or from Sweden. Some people are saying I’m from Germany. Some people are saying I’m from Siberia, and I just find it’s really bizarre.”

Cleo is very quick to point out that she loves most all the countries folks are speculating she is actually from. “If I was from any of these places, I certainly wouldn’t be hiding that from people,” Cleo argues.

She uses Finland as a specific example. “Finland is, like, pretty cool. So, if I was Finnish, I certainly would not be saying I’m Italian for a random reason.” She adds that she is very proud to be Italian.

Cleo comes full circle by going back to the issue with her accent and tying that to her Italian pride.

I do not really have control over how my accent changes based on the people I hang with, and this is not something that I do consciously. I would love for people to understand that it’s not because I’m not happy or proud of being Italian, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with that.

There is SOOOO much more in the video, so I highly recommend that you watch the whole thing! Cleo seems VERY straight forward, honest and sincere about all of the topics she talks about, and I look forward to more videos from her.

I will say, after seeing her on the show and watching this video, it is a little surprising that she was/is attracted to Christian. Perhaps it will make more sense once we see them together!

Follow along with Cleo and Christian on new episodes of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days airing Sunday nights at 8/7c on TLC!

UPDATE – Cleo shared an Instagram reel addressing her accent and nationality, which is a lot shorter than the YouTube clip. Here’s that video, followed by a comment that Cleo left summarizing the nationality issue:

People claim I’m from: Germany, Sweden, Finland, Baltic countries, Albania, Siberia, Iceland, Belgium and more. I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated by these places and would never claim not to be from any of those if I was, I simply have a chameleon-like accent affected by being on the spectrum. Also like, saying one is from Italy isn’t cool to me…Italy is very popular as a tourist destination and personally I’d rather say I was from a less known place, I don’t like pretending to be like everyone else so whatever, but yeah nope.

Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)

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