Millie Bobby Brown is undoubtably one of the most successful people her age, having received two Emmy nominations for her role as Eleven in Stranger Things, becoming the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador at 14, starring in feature films and even launching a beauty line all by the age of 16. Still, the British actress tells Glamour UK that the courage to accomplish so many of her goals so early on in life didn’t come easy, especially after being the victim of bullying during school in England.
“I think when you’re being bullied, your instinct is to say, ‘Oh, it’s not that big of a deal. Maybe they’re just having a bad day.’ I was definitely one of those people,” she told the publication. “I didn’t want to say I was being bullied and in those moments you kind of deny the fact that you are. Now when I reflect, I’m like, ‘Oh, I definitely was. That’s not something you say to anyone. That’s not normal.’”
Brown opened up about the severity of the bullying when she made her debut as a Glamour UK cover star back in 2019, where she revealed that it actually led her to switch schools. Now, while being a public figure in Hollywood, the teen still experiences bullying in the form of cyberbullies on social media. She explains that her experience with bullying has become a cause that she often speaks out about.
“I think I found my ability to speak out when I started my job, and I found my platform and what I wanted to talk about. For me, it was cyberbullying because I’ve received a lot of that in my life and it’s horrible,” she explained. And although hurtful words shared on her accounts is what made her step away from Twitter altogether, Brown says she “can deal” with some of the hate, while maintaining focus on exuding positivity herself.
“I think maybe I’ve grown thicker skin and I just realized it’s OK, they might be going through something, they might be really upset or hurting,” she said. “I choose to love. I don’t like hating on people. It’s exhausting and horrible. So, I’ve dealt with that by saying, ‘I’m turning it around. Come on my Instagram page. If you really do want to hate on me. I am just trying to spread love and positivity.”
Speaking out against bullying and combatting bullies with her own positivity very much aligns with Brown’s beliefs about using her voice for important causes, despite sometimes feeling that she isn’t taken seriously as a young woman.
“I am a young person. I think that we as a young generation should join the conversation because it’s our conversation to be had,” she said. “We are the next generation. We are going to have to deal with what you guys have left behind. I always found that really, really important to me.”
And while Brown has been involved in many projects that allow her to use that voice — including her latest role as executive producer on the Netflix film Enola Holmes — she also shared how difficult its been to take a step back when it comes to work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I get really anxious when I feel like I don’t have a creative outlet,” she shared. “I’ll be like, ‘Oh, maybe I need to write a song,’ or maybe, ‘I need to think of an idea.’ I found out I’m nonstop just as a person. I don’t really like to sit still,” she revealed. “I have learned to manage it in ways that a lot of people learn to manage things like breathing exercises or distracting your mind and my hobbies help distract me from being anxious. Driving takes my anxiety away, actually. I thought it would heighten it. I just don’t think about anything.”