From starring in a movie that landed her an Academy Award nomination at age 10, to then acting alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts by the time that she was 17, Abigail Breslin had a childhood that was anything but normal. But despite her celebrity upbringing, and her continued fame with socialite friends like Tiffany Trump, the now-22-year-old actress says that the women in her life have a lot to do with how she’s dodged a tumultuous young adulthood.
Telling Yahoo Lifestyle that her favorite part about being a woman is “just being able to spend time with other women,” it’s evident that empowering and mentoring girls is something that’s important to Breslin. Fitting in with that goal, she’s recently partnered with the brand Always and its #LikeAGirl campaign — as well as Walmart and the Girl Scouts — to do what she can to ensure that girls don’t experience the drop in self-esteem that so many do when going through puberty. It’s a reality that Breslin says she felt deeply, despite — and maybe even more because of — her celebrity status.
“I mean, I think it’s pretty much the same,” she says of adolescent awkwardness. “At the time when I was going through things, it felt like the whole world was watching. But I think that that’s just what girls feel at that time in general. Even if you’re going to school with people in your town, I think everybody during that time feels like they’re being watched by everybody in the world.”
The pressure that comes with this experience is what brings girls to drop out of certain activities, whether that be acting, as in Breslin’s case, or sports and academics for others. But despite working for hours each week, Breslin says that she was also a Girl Scout, to ensure that she wouldn’t lose the confidence to stick with what she loved.
“The Girl Scouts are all about teaching young girls that they can do whatever it is that they want to do and feel like they’re going to be successful,” she continues. “That’s definitely followed over into my film career, and different aspects of my life. I think that it’s really important for girls at a young age to have that kind of support and boost, for sure.”
And it’s evident that Breslin has both given and received that type of support, as a result of her honest social media platform. Through Instagram, she’s created an authentic representation of who she is, which includes both the good and the bad, to make herself relatable to others. But most importantly, it’s included her difficult story of sexual assault, before it became a larger conversation in Hollywood.
“I think that is amazing that these things are coming more to the forefront of our society and what we’re seeing, and admissions are being made more frequently,” Breslin says of the truths that have been exposed, particularly as a result of the #MeToo movement. However, she points out, “Things don’t change overnight. As much work and progress has been made, I think we need to keep doing it to really lock it in.”
By contributing to the #LikeAGirl campaign, which ensures that this work starts with the next generation, Breslin is doing her part.
“I think seeing other women that have broken through barriers and different obstacles is what amazes me most about women,” Breslin concludes, referring to herself in the process. “Seeing how strong they are empowers me.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• ‘It’s about time’: Sen. Tammy Duckworth makes history by bringing her newborn child onto the Senate floor
• The internet is obsessed with Nikki Haley’s response to being called ‘confused’ by a man
• How 12 activists and influencers — from Padma Lakshmi to Tarana Burke — define modern-day feminism