18 Fascinating Facts About Millie Bobby Brown

The strangest thing about Stranger Things may be that Eleven is 18. Here are some key facts about Millie Bobby Brown in honor of her milestone birthday.

By Natalie Finn Feb 19, 2022 12:00 PMTags
Watch: Millie Bobby Brown Wants Fans to Know She's Growing Up

To date, perhaps the most significant number in Millie Bobby Brown's life has been Eleven.

And she can now add 18 to the mix.

The actress and cosmetics mogul-in-the-making is celebrating her most grown-up birthday yet on Feb. 19, and while it seems as if only yesterday she was just a 13-year-old with a shaved head...

Well, such is life in the Hollywood Upside Down.

But with the long-delayed fourth season of Stranger Things only recently, finally, getting its release date(s), with volume one unfolding May 27, to be followed by volume two on July 1, you're not alone in feeling that time has been playing tricks.

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Stranger Things Season 4: Everything We Know So Far

And yet Millie can drive and everything now. She knows, though, that maybe it's been a little strange for fans who got to know her as a kid star to accept that she's, well... not a kid anymore!

"I'm only 17, but at the end of the day, I'm learning to be a woman. I'm learning to be a young woman," she told MTV News last March. "So being a young girl, people watch you grow up, right? And they've almost become invested in your growth and your journey. But they aren't ready to accept the fact that you're growing up."

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Though she was always a budding style maven in our books, Millie said that her clothing choices were one of the things that prompted a lot of unnecessary chatter.

"So I wear a crop top," she explained, "and people are like, 'She's 10.' I'm like, 'No...I am 17.' That's a thing that girls do. Or I wear high heels. Or I wear an outfit to an award show and they're like, 'She looks 50.' No, it's because you've watched me since I was 10. That's why you think that."

To further help you get used to the fact that the Florence by Mills founder, Enola Holmes producer and star, and award-winning Stranger Things actress is now 18, here is the requisite number of fascinating things to know about Millie Bobby Brown's life so far:

1. Millie Bobby Brown was born in Marbella, Spain, the third of four children. Their British parents, Kelly and Robert Brown, moved the family back to England when Millie was about 4.

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. When she was 8 years old, the Browns packed up and went to Orlando, Fla., after Millie became determined to pursue acting. She enrolled in performing arts classes, booked some commercials (including a geographically friendly Disney World spot) and a talent scout who saw the child at a showcase advised that it would be a good idea to get Millie out to Los Angeles.

Millie got her first IMDb 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 her 12-year-old daughter 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 Milie  was. The Duffers had really sold the actress 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. Millie and her fellow young co-stars were instructed to watch GooniesPoltergeist and Stand By Me, '80s-era, before-their-time fare that mixes humor, horror, psychological drama and lessons about love, family and friendship to prepare for the tone of Stranger Things.

And for Eleven specifically, Millie 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," Millie told Variety, teasing her co-star in absentia. "I think he was just trying to be cool."

8. Millie 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, she 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 grew especially close to Sarah Hindsgall, the Emmy-nominated head of the Stranger Things hair department and the one 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*"

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

Really, she's awash in second moms—and dads! Aaron Paul interviewed Millie for Elle.com back in 2016 and later, hanging out with him and his wife Lauren, she 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.

13. 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."

14. Millie 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," Millie 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 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]," Millie 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."

15. It was a dream of hers to work with UNICEF, and in 2018 the global children's aide organization made Millie its youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador.

16. Also that year, at 14 she became the youngest person ever included on the annual TIME 100 list of influential people.

17. 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.

She's since founded her own vegan, cruelty-free beauty line, Florence by Mills.

18. Brown lost out on the part of Laura in the X-Men-adjacent Logan 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.

And now, she's top-lining her own franchise with Enola Holmes 2 in the works, a follow-up to the well-received Netflix original starring Millie as Sherlock's crafty sister.

Although it doesn't sound likely, Millie emphasized to MTV, "I don't want anything to hold me back," she proclaimed, "which I think is the most important thing...I want to evolve."

So far, so good.

(An earlier version of this article was published Feb. 19, 2020, at 3 a.m. PT)