Even at 10 years old, Millie Bobby Brown was being treated like a grown-up.
The child actress revealed that an influential casting director previously told her that she was never going to make it in Hollywood because she was “too mature,” leaving her in tears.
“I always knew that I was mature and I couldn’t really help that,” Brown admitted to Allure. “No one was as mature as I was, [hearing that] was really hard because I thought [maturity] was a good thing. And then 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.”
Brown’s parents convinced her to submit a self-tapped audition to the Duffer Brothers for “Stranger Things” as one last shot at stardom. “My parents told me, ‘Just do this one last audition on tape, and then you can go outside and play with your friends again,'” Brown remembered. “I said, ‘OK, yeah, I should do this one because it looks cool.'”
She booked the role of Eleven three months later, with her maturity driving home the horror of being a young girl with uncontrollable psychokinetic and telepathic powers in the Netflix series.
Brown reflected on the fact that she was drawn to acting as a child since she “always struggled with self-identity and knowing who I was” and preferred “being different people” in character.
“Even as a young person, I always felt like I didn’t quite belong in every room I was in,” Brown shared. “I also struggle with loneliness a bit. I always felt quite alone in a crowded room, like I was just one of a kind, like nobody ever really understood me. So I liked [playing] characters that people understood [and] people could relate to because I felt like no one could relate to Millie.”
Her success as Eleven also showed her another side of her Hollywood impact: “At first it was really fun,” Brown said of acting. “And then I was like, ‘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.”
Brown previously opened up about the “gross” reaction to her turning 18 and the pitfalls of growing up in the public eye, including being “crucified” for her appearance and outfit choices.
“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” Brown now told Allure. “So it’s like, ‘What do they hate about me? ‘Cause I don’t know who I am.’ It’s almost like, ‘OK, I’m going to try being this today.’ [And then they say], ‘Oh, no, I hate that.’ ‘OK, forget that. I’m going to try being this today.’ ‘Oh, my God! I hate when you do that.’ Then you just start shutting down because you’re like, ‘Who am I meant to be? Who do they need me to be for them?'”
Brown summed up, “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. That’s what I did.”