Millie Bobby Brown, GLAMOUR UK’s 2020 August cover star on how growing up in the public eye & her anxiety, Netflix’s new movie, Enola Holmes & hopes for Eleven
Actress, beauty boss, film producer, UNICEF ambassador – Millie Bobby Brown is the multi-hyphenate poster girl for Gen-Z and beyond. For her second GLAMOUR UK cover – shot at home by her brother, Charlie – Josh Smith finds out there is one thing she can’t do when he Zooms into the home of the 16-year-old… and that’s control her dog.
Photography: Charlie Brown @hearthevisual. Styling: Thomas Carter Phillips @tcarterphillips. Hair & makeup: Millie Bobby Brown. Millie wears: Jacket, David Koma; T-shirt, Brandy Melville; Earring, Jennifer Fisher
It’s an early Thursday morning in Millie Bobby Brown’s Atlanta home and it’s carnage. “Luna, calm down,” Millie yells to the newest member of the Brown gang (which extends beyond the four members of her actual family), a brown mini poodle who is her mum Kelly’s “most prized possession”.
“She’s doing laps around my bedroom,” Millie laughs before taking our Zoom call to the kitchen to escape, dressed in an oversized New York Yankees striped hoodie and bare-faced morning skin, having just recently woken up.
“I have the two mini poodles that drive me insane,” she shares, listing the inhabitants of the MBB ‘petting zoo’, which also includes two tortoises. “The other one is Winnie, who is sat on the table right now – she is Posh Spice to the max – she knows her angles. I have six dogs in total. We have a mini cavapoo who lives in London called Nora, a mini goldendoodle called Leo and then we have, Ronnie and Reggie – two English mastiffs, they’re huge – who are named after the Kray twins because we think that they’re like English gangsters. We thought they were going to be the guard dogs, but they freak out at thunder – they are wimps.”
“I do have a lot of faith in myself. As a young person and as a young girl I was very listened to… but listen, I came out of the womb having a voice!” Millie on becoming a movie producer
Last time I spoke to Millie, in 2019BC (that’s Before Corona) she was desperate to get a micro pig for her forthcoming 16th birthday. Did she get her wish? “I don’t think anyone is going to willingly go get me a pig – so I need to go get one myself,” she jokes.
This kind of conversation reminds you that you are actually speaking to a teenager, but Millie is wise and successful beyond her years. And in case you need a crash course on the rise of MBB, buckle up for quite the debrief. Millie left her home in Dorset, England for Florida with her family to pursue acting at the tender age of eight, landing guest roles in Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy before she shot to fame on Netflix’s Stranger Things aged 12. She has since received two Emmy Award Nominations for her role as Eleven, the troubled girl with otherworldly powers, became UNICEF’s youngest ever Goodwill ambassador aged 14, delivered two powerful speeches on the rights of children at the UN, launched her own clean beauty range, Florence by Mills aged 15, and now at 16 she is not only starring in her second movie but producing (for the first time), Enola Holmes. Oh, and this is her second time as a GLAMOUR UK cover star. Anyone else need to lie down after reading that?
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In her new Netflix movie, a period drama with high kicks, Enola Holmes, she plays the title character and the sister of the great Sherlock Holmes. Like Millie, Enola is determined in her plight to be seen and heard in a world awash with adult voices, continually coming up against mansplaining, sexism and reverse ageism as she attempts to track down her missing mother, an early suffragette, played by Helena Bonham Carter. Sherlock is played by Henry Cavill, who takes a supporting role in a true 2020 twist.
Millie wears: Bodysuit, necklace and belt, all Chanel; earrings, Roxanne Assoulin; necklace & bracelet, Pandora;
“The broader message is touching on female empowerment,” she says, beaming about her second feature film after last year’s Godzilla. “But we also show that, hey, it’s OK to be a young girl and really not know what you’re doing or what your purpose is in life. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have one. It means that you just have to find it.”
Noting her own faith in herself that saw her family uproot from the UK to America to pursue Millie’s acting dream, she continues, “I’ve been really lucky to know that I want to be an actor. This is what I wanted to do my whole life. Filming this film made me realise Eleven doesn’t speak very much in Stranger Things and here I was learning paragraphs and monologues every day. I was surprising myself that I wasn’t messing up!”
Millie wasn’t only contending with a few extra lines; she joined the project as a producer. This meant she brought a new sense of responsibility on set with her, having a say on everything from casting to the construction of scenes. “I was very nervous. I’m not going to lie,” she admits. “I’ve never done that before so to be honest I wasn’t coming onto set like, ‘I have authority.’ I came on set like, ‘Should I say this? Should I say that?’ It was always nerve-racking because I’ve just never done that before. But as soon as I walked on to set, I didn’t even have those thoughts come into my head. I just said, ‘Oh, should we try this, or should we try that?’ It just naturally came to me; it was such an amazing opportunity for me to learn and grow. I love putting my input in and have it been appreciated and listened to.”
In a world where the voices of young people are sidelined in favour of adults, having her views heard and respected is not only important to Millie but she sees it as vital for all of our futures. In a powerful speech at the UN last year, Millie proclaimed, “young people don’t want to be talked about. We want to do the talking,” and becoming a producer has given her a new-found faith in her voice, too.
“I struggle with anxiety and in some ways, this has hindered it. When I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling very anxious, some things like when people say, ‘Oh, you looked bad at this award show because you looked like this or you looked like that,’ make me a little bit more anxious.” Millie on dealing with anxiety & the public eye
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“On Stranger Things, too, I’ve always been very lucky to voice my opinion – the Duffer Brothers (creators of Stranger Things) have always given me that freedom,” Millie tells me, pulling her hair back. “On Enola Holmes I was given free rein to explore my character and Enola is added to my resume for empowering myself. I do have a lot of faith in myself. As a young person and as a young girl I was very listened to so I’m very lucky that I get to tell my story of that experience. But listen, I came out of the womb having a voice. My mom was like, ‘Mill, you need to shut up.’ I’ve always had something to say!”
Having this level of authority doesn’t stop people talking down to her because of her age, however. “Some people don’t realise that they’re doing it,” she says. “I am a young person. I think that we as a young generation should join the conversation because it’s our conversation to be had. We are the next generation. We are going to have to deal with what you guys have left behind. I always found that really, really important to me. I would always say to my friends,…
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