Millie Bobby Brown on growing up in the limelight, body-shaming, and what she’d tell her younger self

Millie Bobby Brown is back – not that she ever really left – and this time around, she’s adding ‘director’ to her CV. 

Today, the Stranger Things star is speaking to GLAMOUR via Zoom to discuss her latest project: a coming-of-age short film, examining the psychological impact of becoming a woman in the public eye. Naturally, Millie has a starring role (complete with aerial gymnastics – yes, really) in the film, but she’s also embraced the responsibility of, you know, directing the whole thing – with a little help from her brother, Charlie Brown, who filmed it all on a Samsung Galaxy S22. 

As part of her directorial debut, Millie enlisted the help of a six-year-old actor, Honey, who portrays a younger version of Millie – perhaps before the intersecting pressures of fame and womanhood were placed on her shoulders? 

Millie told GLAMOUR all about her motivations for directing the film, speaking to us straight from her hair and makeup chair, as she prepared for a day of filming yet another upcoming project. It certainly made for an unusual setting – at one point, she was wearing a nude skull cap, at another, her blonde hair was braided elaborately around her head. 

It didn’t seem to bother her though, in fact – judging from our entire conversation – we’re not sure that anything fazes Millie Bobby Brown… 

Hi Millie! Congratulations on your directorial debut! One of your film’s main themes is childhood and growing up. How did that feel for you as someone who’s been in the public eye from such a young age?

I was definitely nervous because my story is complicated and it’s not like the regular kind of childhood. There’s a lot of story to tell and I wanted to tell it right. So I thought that it would be important to bring in this younger girl [Honey] to show what I was like before my fame and how I’ve got her, as well as who I am now.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d say, hold on. You are going to go on a crazy ride! Try and remember who you are and not the people around you. People come and go into your life and they can negatively and positively influence it. 

Understand that the only person you can hold on to is yourself, and don’t lose yourself in that. Because it’s so easy to, in this industry, especially at a young age. I got the brunt of it. I always wanted to be an actor. I always wanted to be in Stranger Things. Those were the things I wanted. But there was stuff that I didn’t ask for. 

Some of the things that I found harder were people criticising my body, who I am, the kind of person I am… if I talk too much. Things like that – I didn’t ask for those things. They’re cyberbullying. And those are the things that I wanted to show in the film. And I also talked to Honey about it, you know, she’s six, but I said, what you have now is so important… and enjoy every moment of it. Because those things you can’t get back. It’s not depressing. It’s just those things are hard to get back. 

What was it like to work with a little version of you?