At only fifteen years old, Millie Bobby Brown has already been on top of the world and then some. From starring in Stranger Things, to becoming a UNICEF Ambassador, to even being the youngest person to be featured in the Time 100, Millie has certainly done much more than any other typical teenager. But, on top of all of that, she still tries to put others first with the help of her friends and social media.
In an exclusive interview with Seventeen, Millie opens up about her relationship with one of her biggest BFFs, Miquela, and how she hopes to use social media to inspire her 30+ million followers to do some good for themselves and the world.
Also, check out a sweet convo between the two BFFs as they get real about growing up with social media 24/7, how they use it to their advantage in finding out more about themselves, and the best ways to spread positive vibes online.
17: Since you grew up with social media all around you, how has that influence your self-care?
I feel so lucky to be part of a generation that has never known life without the internet and social media. It’s such an incredible part of all of our lives and it has the power to educate, to tell amazing new stories and bring people together, no matter where they are in the world. But I’m also no stranger to the negative consequences that can come from being online all the time. That can be anything from someone reminding you of a bad hair or skin day, to being confronted with negativity and bad energy. So I think I’ve learned that self-care can come from unexpected places or things that we don’t normally think of as being, you know, 'self-care.' A large part of what self-care means to me is removing negativity from my life, online and off. There are incredible tools now on social media and on our phones that can help you block negativity from your life. I have this tool on my phone that reminds me that it’s time to put it down and step away, so it reminds me to take a step back and take care of myself. You know, like, spend time with my family and my friends. Or do a face mask! Or work out, or read or sing something ridiculous, just because I feel like it. I think that self-care can come from social media too — being able to speak to friends is definitely a form of self-care that I practice. Oh, and I love self-care memes! I think they’re such a mood.
17: What are your favorite accounts to follow for positivity and self-care?
I draw the most strength from following my close friends and family. There’s nothing quite like scrolling through your feed or your stories and seeing your best friend just doing something absolutely ridiculous but being themselves at the same time. I love seeing the people I love being their most unfiltered selves. I also get so much positive energy from following my cast mates and people I’ve met through my work. I’m so lucky to have met so many incredible young women in particular who inspire me not only to keep working harder, but who use social media in a very real way that reminds us all that, at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all make mistakes, we’re all learning and growing and we all have to take care of one another. There’s nothing more important than that.
17: With all your projects, how do you make sure you have time for self-care?
Self-care is everywhere! I’m such a fan of stepping back from everything for a moment and just being present. Like, 'Okay, what do I have to do today, how am I going to get it all done and how can I take care of myself at the same time?' It can be hard, absolutely, you can get so caught up in everything that’s going on that you forget to take care of yourself in the most simple ways, like drinking enough water. But I always try to remind myself that it’s the little things that all add up to making you feel like the best possible version of yourself every day. You shouldn’t just wait for the weekend to feel good about who you are and how you’re feeling about things. I try really hard to take time every day and do something nice for myself or someone else. So that could be, like, sending your friend a reminder that they’re absolutely killing it and that you can’t wait to see them soon. Or it could be that you take a few minutes to listen to your favorite song. Self-care doesn’t have to be what we do to make ourselves look or feel better on the outside, it’s so important to practice mental self-care too. Even something like making sure you’re getting enough sleep is so important!
17: What is one way you hope to use social media for good?
I hope that young people realize that the movement starts with us. Our generation in particular has so much power to use social media to create positive change in the world. My great hope is that people will use their platforms to spread kindness and positivity with one another, rather than using social media as a platform to bring one another down. I think it can also be an incredible tool for education and the empowerment that comes from knowing your worth, particularly for young women. Social media can give us a voice and, if we use it intelligently, a megaphone for that voice that young women haven’t always had. I truly hope that social media can be used to make our voices louder so that all of us can be lifted up to an equal playing field as a result.
17: How did you and Miquela first meet and how would you describe your friendship?
Miq and I met earlier this year on the set of a short film we made together for #TeamGalaxy. The idea was that we’d come together as part of this group that included people from all kinds of different worlds like music, entertainment, fashion and gaming to show that anything was possible. We didn’t get to spend that much time together on set, but when we met for the first time we had an instant connection. Well, I’d like to think we did! We’re both really passionate about the same things, so we were able to strike up a bond over those things immediately — like the right of all young people to have access to an education, the need to combat negativity online with love for yourself and others, and, of course, fashion. Our styles are so different, but I think we both appreciate the risks that the other one takes. It’s like, 'I see what you did there! I couldn’t pull it off, but I love it for you!' So I think I’d say our friendship is based on a lot of mutual support, building each other up — and constant messaging, because we’re never in the same place at the same time.
17: What do you ultimately hope fans will take away from your conversation with Miquela?
I hope people see that you can make connections with people in the craziest of ways, even when you least expect it! And that you can make those friendships stronger, no matter how many miles apart you are. When we hung out in London, we hadn’t seen each other in months and I didn’t know if we’d be able to bounce off each other like we do online, you know? But we both just relaxed into it immediately and it was so great to disconnect from everything we both have going on at work and really get to know each other a lot more. We discovered that we have so much else in common than we first realized — attitudes and experiences that we’ve shared in our careers and personal lives that I didn’t think would be possible given our backgrounds are so different. But I guess you never know until you ask someone and are your most authentic and honest self with them in return. That’s so important to me.
While hanging out at London Fashion Week 2019, the two BFFs got the chance to catch up during their Samsung shoot. Seventeen got the exclusive convo which you can check out below as Miquela and Millie Bobby Brown got real about the good and bad of social media and trying to spread positive vibes, despite some of the negativity they might get.
Miquela Sousa: Millie! It’s wild that we’re finally getting to hang.
Millie Bobby Brown: I know! It’s just been good to hang out, get dressed up and have fun.
MS: I feel that so deeply. You can only keep the same energy for so long before you need to reboot — oop. I feel like people are gonna jump on that one. You know, robot toaster jokes and all.
MBB: Do you feel like you have to watch what you say all the time?
MS: This will sound funny, but the older I get — lol I did it again — the less worried I am about trying to control what everyone thinks of me and just be 100 percent myself. Some people still think they know everything about you from your feed as though it’s an unedited 24/7 livestream of your life or something.
MBB: Oh, absolutely. That’s also why I understand how social media can be isolating for a lot of people. I’ve experienced that myself, so I’ve made a conscious effort to really consider how I use it not only for my own benefit but for others too.
MS: I love that for you. And all of us. How do you use social media to spread positive vibes? And what tips do you have for other young queens hoping to use it as a tool of empowerment?
MBB: Okay question: do you ever look at self-care memes?
MS: Sis, I am a walking, talking self-care meme. I mean, yes, come through! I feel like they’re part of a healthy internet diet.
MBB: [Laughs] I think even sharing something as simple as a cute cartoon with a really empowering message of self-love can be a simple reminder for your followers to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take care of yourself. I regram them on my stories sometimes — they’re as much a reminder for myself as for anyone who’s watching. I’m also a big believer in random acts of kindness — like paying it forward?
MS: Explain to the good people what that means.
MBB: I believe the best thing we can all do to combat negativity — on social media or in the real world — is to spread love. Sending your friend a funny DM or writing a positive comment on someone’s post takes one minute but the impact can be huge. I believe we can all work to make social media a happier place and we all carry around the power and potential to do it in our purses and pockets.
MS: Totally! If we used our voices for good — in unison — it would make such a difference.
MBB: Exactly! It’s about building up a positive community.
MS: We love to see it. So how do you express yourself and your creativity on social media?
MBB: I think everything you do on social media is a form of creative expression, right? Like, if you’re using filters and, like, having a lip sync battle with your friends, that’s a kind of storytelling. It’s not the same as a movie or a TV series, obviously, but it’s a new kind of storytelling.
MS: 'A new kind of storytelling' should be my next tattoo. And on the topic of all things new, you’ve got a LOT of new stuff going on right now, girl...
MBB: It’s super exciting. I’m producing my first feature film. I’ve just released my makeup line which is a dream come true. I love challenging people’s expectations and when they say 'you’re too young to do that' it gives me even more of a drive.
MS: Absolutely. The first step in manifesting your dreams or desires is to vocalize them. You’ve gotta speak them into existence sometimes. For me, releasing new music stopped becoming this daunting, impossible task and started becoming a reality once I started to put it out there on social and asked others for help. Which makes me think, and I’m sorry if this sounds corny, but how important is it to you to have the support of other young women who are pushing their creative boundaries?
MBB: It’s SO important. The strength I draw from all the women in my life — my mother, my nan, my sisters, my friends, the amazing talented people I work with — all of it forms a kind of safety net that I know I can fall back on if I’m ever unsure or doubting myself.
MS: Right!? You keep giving me even more reasons to stan forever! Which reminds me, you are something of a trailblazer when it comes to pulling off a capital-L ‘Look’. How do you use style and beauty to express different facets of your identity?
MBB: [Laughs] You can talk! I’ve always loved using makeup as a tool for self-expression, for trying out different looks or doing tutorials and sharing them on Instagram. It’s part of the reason I wanted to create my own line, because I want other girls to celebrate those different facets of their personality, and makeup is such a wonderful, accessible way to express it.
MS: I feel that deeply, sis. Makeup and fashion are so powerful - it’s like an IRL filter that allows people to see who you really are. I think I’ve learned recently to be bolder in my choices, to really put all of myself out there, because what are we if we’re not doing that - regressing? Shrinking? How do you think you you grown most significantly in the last year?
MBB: I think I’ve learned to trust myself and my instincts more and more. You’ve always got to go with your gut, whether it’s deciding your next move at work or what you’re going to have for lunch at home.
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