16 Sweet Things to Know About Millie Bobby Brown

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is celebrating her sweet 16, meaning it only feels as if she's been front row at Fashion Week for all of our lives

By Natalie Finn Feb 19, 2020 11:00 AMTags
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To date, perhaps the most significant number in Millie Bobby Brown's life has been Eleven.

But she can now add 16 to the mix.

The Stranger Things star is celebrating the sweetest birthday of them all Wednesday, and while it seems as if only yesterday she was just a kid...

Well, she's still just a kid. But with a fourth season of her cultural phenomenon of a Netflix series on order, a big-screen Godzilla sequel coming out in November, too many awe-inspiring style moments to count and her first foray into producing (and starring as Sherlock's younger sister in Enola Holmes) in the works, it's easy to feel as if Brown has been part of the A-list celebrity circuit for far longer than is the case in reality.

Such is life in the Hollywood upside-down.

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And the teen can't believe how much has happened in such a short span of time, either.

On Dec. 31, she shared a video of her young(er) self singing, writing, "at the beginning of this decade I was 6 years old. going to school. making my class listen to me sing 24/7. probably not even thinking about where I'd be at the end of the decade. this video was taken in 2011 when I was 7 and utterly obsessed with @adele and still utterly obsessed. no change. this decade has been life changing, like seriously."

In honor of her milestone birthday, here are 16 things to know about the eventful life Millie Bobby Brown has led so far:

1. Millie Bobby Brown was born in Marbella, Spain, the third of British parents Kelly and Robert Brown's four children. They moved back to England when Millie was about 4, and then packed up and went to Orlando, Fla., four years later when their precocious third child decided she wanted to pursue acting. She enrolled in performing arts classes, booked some commercials (including a Disney World spot) and a talent scout who saw Brown at a showcase advised that it would be a good idea to get Millie out to Los Angeles.

2. She is deaf in one ear, having been born with only partial hearing on one side before eventually losing all of it, so she learned how to adapt to a trying circumstance at an early age.

3. She decided at 8 that she wanted to pursue acting and got her first credit at 9, a two-episode arc as "Young Alice" in the short-lived Once Upon a Time spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland on ABC. In fact, she was so good in one episode, they wrote another one featuring the character expressly to bring her back.

"It was like a bug," a 13-year-old Brown told Variety. "I know this sounds crazy, but once I find something I want to do, nobody's stopping me. If I don't know how to sew, and I really had that passion to sew, that's it, I'm going to sew. That's also with acting. So here I am."

4. She was living in England again, making the BBC show Intruders, when she got the call to audition for this new Netflix show, Stranger Things. "So I did the first audition—a very emotional audition—and they said, 'Come back for a callback,'" she recalled to IndieWire in 2016. "And I was like, 'Okay!'" Through the next several phases of the casting process, series creators Matt and Ross Duffer gave her fake scenes to work on, so as not to spoil anything about the twist-filled drama.

Brown decided to settle right down in Atlanta, where the show is primarily filmed.

5. Her mom was more upset by the prospect of a 12-year-old Brown shaving her head to play the pivotal role of Eleven—a child who escapes from the confines of a facility where she's being subjected to traumatizing tests that have infused her with telekinetic powers—than Brown was, but the Duffers really sold Brown on the idea when they explained they were going for a Charlize Theron-in-Mad Max: Fury Road vibe. "I thought, 'Wow, that's such an amazing way to put it, you know?' It was the best decision I've ever, ever made," she told IndieWire.

"The day I shaved my head was the most empowering moment of my whole life," Brown reflected during PaleyFest in 2018. "The last strand of hair cut off was the moment my whole face was on show and I couldn't hide behind my hair like I used to. As I looked in the mirror I realized I had one job to do: inspire...Shaving your head is so empowering. You don't need hair to be beautiful. You are beautiful with or without. I learnt that too."

6. She and her fellow young co-stars were instructed to watch GooniesPoltergeist and Stand By Me, '80s-era fare that mixes humor, horror, psychological drama and lessons about love, family and friendship to prepare for the tone of Stranger Things. And for Brown's Eleven specifically, she told IndieWire, "They told me that the performance that they wanted me to resemble was E.T., and sort of that relationship between E.T. and the kids."

7. Eleven's kiss with Finn Wolfhard's Mike was Brown's first kiss ever. "He says I wasn't [his first kiss], but I definitely think I was," Brown told Variety, teasing her co-star in absentia. "I think he was just trying to be cool."

8. She became a SAG Award winner at 12 when the Stranger Things cast won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2017. Brown has also been nominated twice individually, for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.

9. Months later, Brown received her first of two Emmy nominations at 13, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She didn't win, but she has taken home numerous consolation selfies over the years. (The series also won five Emmys in 2017 in technical categories, including Outstanding Casting.)

10. Brown won Best Actor (and then Best Performance) in a Show in both 2017 and 2018 at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.

11. Brown has grown especially close to Sarah Hindsgall, the Emmy-nominated head of the Stranger Things hair department and person who actually shaved the actress' head

"this is a happy birthday post to my second mother. i love this woman sooo much," Brown wrote in July 2018. "i love sharing my mornings getting ready and preparing for eleven with you. I love having coffees with you. i love laughing with you and sharing our lunches cuddling on the couch... Thank you for being such an amazing person and being such a significant person in my life. Love you to the moon and back momma sarah."

She reiterated the sentiment in July 2019, writing, "love u sm and thanks for being the bestest friend. from the first day I met you, i immediately fell in love with your talent, kindness, and love that u always share on our set and of course the best mom to our dog... ily sarahhhhhh *Danish accent*"

Also in the inner circle: her other "second mom," Winona Ryder.

Really, she's awash in second moms—and dads! Aaron Paul interviewed her for Elle.com back in 2016 and later, hanging out with him and his wife Lauren, Brown used the hashtag "#fakeadoptedparents" in her Instagram caption.

"My wife and I said that we'd want to adopt her…she said that we could," the Breaking Bad star said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

12. Wigs have been used liberally throughout the making of Stranger Things, but Brown's curly 'do in season three was entirely her own. "Millie didn't get a perm—her hair is naturally curly!" Hindsgall told Insider. "I wanted something natural and really childlike. That's Millie's hair, we just kind of scrunch it up and she goes. I didn't want to have to touch her too much this season, I want her to be free. Her character has such an arc this season and so many emotional scenes, you don't want anyone standing around fussing with you. I wanted to give her that peace."

13. Brown and co-star Noah Schnapp once prank-called Stranger Things' costume designer and told her her wedding was canceled. Those crazy kids!

"Noah is my best friend," Brown said at Indiana Comic Con in 2017. "We're the same age. We do everything together. We go to Six Flags. We have play dates. I mean, we are children."

But all of the principal kids bonded fast. She called Finn Wolfhard her adviser and Gaten Matarazzo her "entertainer," and compared Caleb McLaughlin, who's two and a half years older than she is, to a protective older brother. Though, by season two, they were all squabbling like family.

"We would be, like, really nice to each other [filming season one]," Brown said at PaleyFest in March 2018. "We didn't want to do anything that would hurt each other's feelings. Now it's so different. We are actually siblings. We argue all the time."

14. It was a dream of hers to work with UNICEF, and in 2018 the global children's aide organization made Brown its youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador. Also that year, at 14 she became the youngest person ever included on the annual TIME 100 list of influential people.

15. Brown signed with IMG Models in 2017 and attended her first (of many) runway shows at New York Fashion Week, starting with Coach before graduating swiftly to greeting Anna Wintour in the front row at Calvin Klein.

16. Brown lost out on the part of Laura in Logan, which went to Dafne Keen, but her franchise potential became apparent soon enough. Making her big screen debut at 13 (though 15 when it came out), Brown played Madison Russell, the intrepid daughter of divorced scientists played by Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga, in 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters and she returned for Godzilla vs. Kong.

"I found my passion in 2013 when I knew I loved being on camera," Brown's New Year's Eve Instagram tribute continued. "in 2014 -2015 I was begging casting agents to believe in me. in late 2015 Carmen Cuba, the duffer bros, shawn levy, and dan cohen but most of all @netflix believed in me. From there I've been all over the world meeting all of you. Met the most genuine people. grown up and learned many things. I'm turning 16 soon and I can confidently say I'm living my dreams out. this is what I want for every young person right now. thank you to everyone for all of your support. love you forever."

So far, so good.

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