This is why we don't listen to our haters.
Millie Bobby Brown is opening up about her meteoric rise to fame in a new interview with Allure, including an anecdote about one casting director who told her she’d never make it as an actress for a really bizarre reason.
Brown, who grew up in several locales, including Spain, England, and Orlando, FL, didn’t always know she wanted to be an actress. It was during a Christmas performance she realized how happy being on stage made her. The Stranger Things star’s parents warned her, “‘Well, it is a job. And if you commit to it, you have to commit to it. You can’t audition and then give up,” she told the publication. “So I was like, ‘I don’t care. Whatever it takes, I want to act.’”
Brown had found acting to be a bridge to finding out who she wanted to be. “I enjoyed being different people because I always struggled with self-identity and knowing who I was,” she said. Even when she was little, she found herself feeling lonely in crowded rooms, struggling to find where she belonged because she tended to act more maturely than her peers. “So I liked [playing] characters that people understood [and] people could relate to because I felt like no one could relate to Millie.”
Not long after, her family moved to LA where, at eight years old, Brown began not only auditioning but scoring a number of notable guest spots, including on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, NCIS, Modern Family, and Grey’s Anatomy. Despite going out for comedic roles, she always landed “intense roles.” But soon Brown had a “disastrous” audition, where a casting director told the 10-year-old that she’d never make it in the film industry because she was “too mature,” leaving the soon-to-be-star in tears.
Lots of kids grow up understood a high level of maturity to be a good thing, and Brown was one of them. “...being told that it wasn’t, that I wouldn’t make it in this industry, it was so hurtful. I got really down about that,” she said. “I always knew that I was mature and I couldn’t really help that," she added.
Her parents convinced her to do one last self-tape, and three months later, she booked Eleven in Stranger Things because of it. There, she found not only a group of friends that helped her feel less alone but a realization of what her onscreen representation could do for others. She thought, “‘Gosh, I could really do things with this. I could really change the world with this.’ There was something about acting that made me feel powerful, impactful, and like I could inspire people.”
Today, Brown is still working on finding who she is. She’s been the recipient of an unfortunate and inappropriate amount of bullying, threats, and sexualization, all before she even turned 18, which led her to delete most of her social media platforms and transfer management of the ones she hasn’t to members of her team.
“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” she said. “So it’s like, ‘What do they hate about me? ’Cause I don’t know who I am.’” It seemed like everything she did or said was met with vitriol, leaving her to wonder who she was meant to be. “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,” she said.
It just goes to show that one stranger’s—or even many—opinion, though hurtful, doesn't and shouldn't have a profound impact on who you are.