Millie Bobby Brown recently spoke about her struggles with social media, identity and mental health as a child growing up in the spotlight.
“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” the 18-year-old “Stranger Things” star told Allure in an interview for its September cover story.
“Then you just start shutting down because you’re like, ‘Who am I meant to be? Who do they need me to be for them?’”
“Then I started to grow more, and my family and friends really helped. It helped to be able to understand that I don’t need to be anything they said that I need to be. I just have to develop within myself. That’s what I did.”
Millie Bobby Brown at Netflix's "Stranger Things" Season 4 premiere in New York. (Photo: Theo Wargo via Getty Images)
Though Brown had made appearances on “NCIS,” “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and other programs prior to 2016, it was her role as Eleven on “Stranger Things,” which she landed at just 12 years old, that skyrocketed her to worldwide fame.
In the six years since, Brown has faced the scrutiny, harassment, sexualization and trolling that comes with it.
As a result, she doesn’t use social media on her phone, and deleted she her Twitter and TikTok accounts. Her only active social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook, are managed by someone else.
The only way she communicates directly with fans is via blog posts on her website. She said it protects her because nobody can comment.
Though there are many downsides to her celebrity, Brown is also embracing the upsides of her platform and reach. Besides her other onscreen work, including her titular role in the upcoming “Enola Holmes 2,” she has a fast-growing beauty brand, Florence by Mills, and works as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
“Of course, people can look at it as pressure or scary, but I think that’s the most exciting part of my job,” she told Allure. “People are all looking at me, ‘What are you going to say, Millie?’ I’m going to say, ‘Young girls deserve an education. Young people everywhere deserve equal rights. [You] deserve to love the people that you want to love. Be the people that you want to be and achieve the dreams that you want to achieve.’ That’s my message.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.