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While she's best known for playing badass Eleven on Netflix's Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown can relate to another part of her character. In a new interview with Glamour U.K. — the one and only Orlando Bloom profiled her for the magazine's May digital issue, by the way — Brown said that growing up, she was bullied, something she and Eleven have in common. And though she doesn't have superpowers to fight back, she does have something else. The actor explained that she's working to stand up for young people everywhere by becoming an activist with UNICEF and working to protect children around the world against "violence, exploitation, and the struggles that come with dealing with social media."
Brown explained that the cause hit close to home. She experienced bullying herself and actually had to change schools because of it. The tough situation is something that she carries to this day and she says that it still hurts her when she experiences online bullying. The anxiety that she felt from being bullied as a kid is still with her and she hopes that through her work with UNICEF, she can keep it from happening to others.
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"I was bullied at school back in England. So, it's extremely important for me to speak out against bullying," Brown said. "I actually switched schools because of it. It created a lot of anxiety and issues that I still deal with today. I have dealt with situations both in real life and online that are soul-breaking and it genuinely hurts reading some of the things people have said."
Brown adds that she doesn't hate social media outright. She says that the negativity just takes the lion's share of the spotlight, overshadowing all of the positive things that can happen on different platforms.
"Being in this industry we have become so aware of negativity and it’s made me appreciate the love so much more," she adds. "People receive so much love on social media and then only focus on the hate. Young people's lives are increasingly under pressure. I also want to combat the negativity on social media. I have experienced it — it's like a disease. It's negative hate that is genuinely so horrifying to me."
She insists that social media is a place where people can be heard and where change can happen. She explained to Bloom, a fellow UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador (Brown was named one of the organization's ambassadors back in 2018 and became the youngest-ever person to hold the title.), that by sharing her own story, she hopes to empower people and let them know that things really do get better. It may seem silly, but she just wants to make social media a place for happy things, not another platform for lobbing insults.
"Social media is one of the best places in the world and one of the worst — it counteracts itself," she explained. "It sends such amazing messages; it raises awareness of situations that need to be heard. Nobody should say it isn't a platform for positivity and change. But then there are some really heartbreaking things to happen on social media and I have dealt with a lot of bullying online. I want to make it a happy place."