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Millie Bobby Brown no longer wants to be known as the girl from ‘Stranger Things’

The star of the Netflix show is trying to separate herself from the character that brought her fame and fortune. She is reinventing herself as a writer by publishing a book that she didn’t write herself

Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown, at the world premiere of 'Enola Holmes 2' on October 27, 2022, in New York.Arturo Holmes (WireImage)

Millie Bobby Brown wants to turn the page to survive in the world of acting. Born in Marbella, Spain, to British parents and raised in Dorset, England, and then in Orlando, Florida, the actress is trying to get her audience to stop identifying her with the character that made her a global icon, Eleven, in the Netflix hit Stranger Things. The fifth and final season of the show will premiere next year. The actress is doing everything she can to make her fame transcend the paranormal happenings in Hawkins, the town in which the series is set. But it’s difficult to do that, considering the show’s success. Even still, she’s ready to say goodbye. “When you’re ready, you’re like, ‘All right, let’s do this. Let’s tackle this last senior year. Let’s get out of here,’” she said a few weeks ago in an interview with Glamour magazine. The periodical named her one of its women of the year.

The actress will return to the big screen in two upcoming films. In Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Damsel, Brown will play a princess who discovers that after marrying her prince charming, she will be sacrificed to the dragon of the kingdom’s caverns; the movie will be released on Netflix this year. In it, she will share the screen with stars like Angela Bassett (who played Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It) and Robin Wright (House of Cards). In 2024, Brown will appear in the sci-fi/adventure film The Electric State; the film is directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who have four films in the Marvel universe to their credit, including the acclaimed Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Millie Bobby Brown made her film debut in 2019 in Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters; along with the success of Stranger Things, it showed that the actress was bound to be a future heroine in action cinema.

But now, the public cannot quite understand why she wants to jettison her role as Eleven, which has given her everything, including fame and money. Only Margot Robbie, who starred in Barbie, has surpassed Brown on the list of the film industry’s highest paid women. Netflix paid the young woman up to $10 million to reprise her role in the sequel to Enola Holmes; by bringing the new apprentice detective to life again, Brown managed to sign one of the largest checks ever issued to an underage actress. In this way, Brown has forged a multimillion, multidisciplinary empire to convincingly show that she is not just another broken Hollywood child star unable to assimilate their childhood success. “Stranger Things takes up a lot of time to film and it’s preventing me from creating stories that I’m passionate about. So I’m ready to say, ‘Thank you, and goodbye.’” she said determinedly in her interview with Glamour.

Perhaps out of fear that her status as a movie star will gradually fade away, the actress has not stopped reinventing herself. This summer, Brown published her book Nineteen Steps, based on her own family’s experiences. It tells the story of a young English girl who falls in love with an American pilot during World War II. Although the actress has demonstrated on social media — where she has millions of followers — that she is very proud of her debut as an author, the publication has rekindled the controversy over ghostwriters in the United Kingdom. Although Brown’s is the only name that appears on the cover of the book, the novel was written with the collaboration of novelist Kathleen McGurl. In the midst of the controversy, the actress posted a photo of herself with the writer along with a message of thanks on Instagram: “I couldn’t have done this without you.”

Despite her youth, the 19-year-old has been in the film industry for more than a decade and has spoken out on several occasions about the unfair treatment to which she feels she has been subjected since she was very young. On the heels of the overwhelming success of Stranger Things, she was harshly criticized for her acting when she was only 13 years old. She also came under fire for her alleged plastic surgery. “Now I’d really like to wear tighter clothes. I feel like I’m becoming someone and that I am a woman,” the actress commented on her social media accounts after being accused of abusing Botox. That comment received a wave of criticism and negative comments. “A year of human life is 7 Millie Bobby Brown years,” one of her followers wrote.

But it has not only been anonymous internet users who have rebuked the actress on social media. In 2021, Brown was attacked by her ex-boyfriend, TikTokker Hunter Ecimovic; in a live video on his Instagram page, he graphically described an alleged sexual encounter with the actress, who was only 17 at the time. What’s more, he took pride in having acted like a groomer. Brown took legal action against her ex-partner: “[Hunter] Ecimovic’s remarks on social media are not only dishonest, but also are irresponsible, offensive and hateful,” the actress said at the time in a statement. The influencer’s account was soon deactivated. In a subsequent interview that the actress gave in Allure magazine, she explained that the episode made her feel “very vulnerable.”

On a personal level, 2023 has been a good year for the actress, whom Time magazine named one of the 100 most influential people in the world when she was 14. Brown is currently in the midst of planning her wedding. After a two-year relationship with Jake Bongiovi, 21, songwriter Jon Bon Jovi’s son, Brown announced her engagement last spring, wearing a diamond ring valued at $150,000. Since they were spotted as a couple on the red carpet at the BAFTA Awards in 2022, they have been inseparable in public. In her recent statements on American television, the British actress gushed that planning her nuptials is “very exciting.”

Millie Bobby Brown has never been hesitant to talk about her private life or share it with her thousands of followers online. Nor has she shied away from reliving some of her more difficult past experiences. “I was bullied at school back in England. So, it’s extremely important for me to speak out against bullying. I actually switched schools because of it, it created a lot of anxiety and issues that I still deal with today.” In 2019, the actress became the youngest UNICEF ambassador, an appointment she received precisely because of that traumatic past; she has explained on more than one occasion how “soul-breaking” bullies inspired her to become an activist. “Young people’s lives are increasingly under pressure. First of all, I want to make sure that children are protected from violence and exploitation,” she said at the time in an interview with actor Orlando Bloom in Glamour UK magazine.

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