Millie Bobby Brown on Switching Schools After the 'Soul-Breaking' Experience of Being Bullied
By Leena Tailor
Millie Bobby Brown/Glamour UK
Millie Bobby Brown is opening up about the “soul-breaking” experience of being bullied when she was younger.
The Stranger Things star covers the May digital issue of Glamour UK, in which she opens up to British actor Orlando Bloom about how being bullied has impacted her life.
In the issue, which is the magazine’s inaugural Activism edition, the 15-year-old actress recounts her difficult path to becoming an activist for young people’s rights.
"I was bullied at school back in England. So, it’s extremely important for me to speak out against bullying,” Brown shares. “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."
“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.”
“Going back three years ago people wouldn’t listen to me, and now these years are gone by and I have witnessed so much love and respect for youth on set,” she says. “It makes me so much happier that adults actually appreciate youth and opinions.”
"On a set I don’t want to be treated as a minor,” continues Brown, who shot to fame on Stranger Things at the age of 12. “Although I am, I am not there to just be treated like a child -- I am there to be treated as a co-worker and my opinion be treated as such. You know, you are a man, I am a girl but that doesn’t matter -- our opinions are equally as important as each other."
Brown’s efforts led to her being named the youngest ever UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2018, an honor she says she “can’t even put into words."
Her primary goals are to help protect children from violence, exploitation and the struggles that come with dealing with social media.
"Young people’s lives are increasingly under pressure,” she tells Bloom, a fellow UNICEF ambassador who is coming up on almost a decade working with the organization. “I want to make sure that children are protected from violence and exploitation. 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."
“Social media is one of the best places in the world and one of the worst -- it counteracts itself,” she also notes. “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.”
As for the upcoming third season of Stranger Things, the Emmy-nominated actress couldn’t dish any details but gushed about how special the Netflix series is to her.
"It’s one of the most important things in my life,” she says. “I am so excited about it because I worked really hard on it. It’s like my baby. I shaved my hair off for it, so ever since then it’s become one of my favorite projects I have ever done."
Brown did tease upcoming episodes of Stranger Things, which returns on July 4, while chatting with ET recently. "Eleven's character evolves greatly," she said. "And I can say it's spreading fast. And that's all I can tell you."