Despite her youth, Millie Bobby Brown wasn’t exactly an overnight success. Born in Spain on Feb. 19, 2004, the Stranger Things actress lived in the U.K. and later Florida before moving to Los Angeles at the behest of a talent scout, who, according to Biography, told her parents: "She has instincts you cannot teach."
Brown landed roles within a matter of months — appearing on shows like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Modern Family, and Grey’s Anatomy — but she wasn’t quite out of the woods yet: According to the Daily Mail, her family reportedly "went broke" while waiting for her to land meatier roles, and everybody eventually moved back to Britain. But when Brown auditioned for the Netflix show Stranger Things in 2015, her luck took a turn for the life-changing: The sci-fi thriller transformed Brown into a bonafide star. "I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen," she told the Daily Mail.
Of course, fame isn’t without its pitfalls, particularly for someone so young. Brown felt compelled to abandon Twitter after being mercilessly teased by online trolls. She endures her friendships (Drake) and romantic relationships (Jacob Sartorius) getting ravenously dissected by the press, and even one of her Converse sneaker commercials caught some minor flack.
Time to toast a fresh batch of Eggos and discover the untold truth of Millie Bobby Brown.
Millie Bobby Brown and the mystery of the "vomit artist"
It was all too sick-making. Imagine the panic that set in when Millie Bobby Brown’s reps learned that their star client intended to "become a human candle" at a 2017 fashion week event in Los Angeles: The Stranger Things sensation was on the brink of a full-fledged freakout and must be stopped! These frantic reps reportedly reached out to festival organizers, claiming that the performance would likely "diminish the teen’s artistic expression," according to Page Six. Beyond that, Brown was expected to "be on the set of Godzilla in Atlanta" that day, so no go: All this "human candle" business would need to be snuffed out — no ands, ifs, or buts.
Turns out the reps got their facts bungled: It was the similarly-named performance artist Millie Brown (above right) who intended to perform all this "waxing poetic." According to The Guardian, Millie Brown is famous for theatrical performances that often involve drinking loads of food coloring and vomiting "the entire rainbow on the stage." Certainly not everyone’s cup of chamomile, but Lady Gaga considers herself a fan. In fact, they even collaborated once, when Gaga let Millie Brown puke on her while Gaga ranted: "F** you, pop music! This is artpop! Free yourself!"
To their credit, Millie Bobby Brown’s reps reportedly asked organizers: "Who are we to judge?"
Drake evidently texts her romantic advice
It’s a wrinkle in the Millie Bobby Brown story that certainly furrowed some brows: In an interview with Access Hollywood during the 2018 Emmy Awards on Sept. 17, 2018, the actress opened up about her friendship with musician Drake, chirping: "I love him. I met him in Australia and he’s honestly so fantastic." Calling Drake a "great friend and a great role model," she revealed: "We just texted each other the other day and he was like, ‘I miss you so much,’ and I was like, ‘I miss you more.’" She also also admitted Drake gives her advice "about boys. He helps me."
Well, the media basically freaked. "Millie Bobby Brown and Drake’s Friendship Is Not Okay," shouted a headline on Her Campus, the self-proclaimed "#1 new-media brand for the empowered college woman." Kiss 92.5 evidently agreed, insisting Drake shouldn’t be texting Brown "for any reason. Ever. Period." Meanwhile, The Independent trotted out the well-worn formula: "We need to talk about Drake texting 14-year-old Millie Bobby Brown."
In a pointed message posted to Instagram Stories, Brown subsequently shut down this much-needed talk before it could get started (via the Daily Mail): "Why u gotta make a lovey friendship ur headline? U guys are weird … for real." She added: "U don’t get to choose that for me."
So now we need to talk about Millie Bobby Brown’s criticism of the media’s criticism of her friendship with Drake, right?
Did ex-boyfriend Jacob Sartorius diss her in a song?
After dating for seven months, Millie Bobby Brown and pop star Jacob Sartorius called it quits in July 2018, according to People. Both entertainers posted the news on Instagram Stories via identical statements, claiming the breakup "was completely mutual" while assuring fans they were "both happy and remaining friends." At the time, Brown was 14, and Sartorius was 15.
But were they actually on good terms, or were these two identical party lines? In November 2018, hawk-eyed — and presumably bat-eared — journalists took issue with Sartorius’s single, "We’re Not Friends," confident that they’d heard some "shade" in the lyrics. However, there was some disagreement as to whom Sartorius was throwing all this shade at. Complex sounded convinced he was shading Drake, citing lines like: "We’re not friends / Do you think I really wanna hear about him?" Meanwhile, shade investigators at US Weekly believed the song was a dig at "Millie Bobby Brown’s friendship with Drake," a subtle but important distinction (emphasis ours).
Of course, all art is subjective; shady art, doubly so. A Seventeen scribe believed Sartorius was, in fact, shading Brown in the song, taking interest in the line: "Girl, I wanna give you more than good advice." They think the lyric alludes to the revelation that Drake offers Brown advice "about boys."
Actually, it is pretty shady, isn’t it?
Her Converse commercial was so controversial
In October 2018, the Daily Mail reported that Millie Bobby Brown was embroiled in a frightful controversy that involved a Converse commercial and several concerned eyeballs. The ad in question features the Stranger Things star resting her foot on the dashboard of a moving vehicle while quipping to an unseen driver: "It’s not illegal to wear Converse to an awards show. You can’t tell me how to be a girl."
Well, three disgruntled YouTube viewers evidently disagreed, making a considerable fuss over the fact that Brown’s foot was propped up on the dashboard. Since the car was clearly in motion, they evidently felt the commercial "condoned or encouraged unsafe behavior" among all the children of the world. At the time, Converse spokespeople maintained the ad was merely celebrating "a young woman defying convention" and insisted the commercial wasn’t even aimed at children anyway.
That’s when an organization called The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stepped in to resolve this unpleasantness. After carefully analyzing the commercial, they came to the conclusion that the controversy was, in fact, a nontroversy, and absolutely no kind of trigger for impressionable youths. "The way she was sitting was not otherwise relevant to the product being advertised," the ASA wrote in a statement, "and we considered viewers were therefore likely to pay little attention to the way she was sitting." Those three YouTubers must be furious.
The meme that made Millie Bobby Brown deactivate Twitter
Every minute of every day, some unlucky soul is being ripped to pieces on social media. Occasionally, that person is Millie Bobby Brown.
On June 13, 2018, the actress effectively deactivated her official Twitter account after falling victim to a misguided online prank in which people "posted memes depicting her as a violent homophobe" according to Variety. The stunt, which Polygon described as "a passive form of reputation dismantlement," involved scores of bored Twitter users grabbing various images of Brown and attaching them to anti-gay slurs and the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown. The stunt didn’t push Brown into deleting her anti-bullying Twitter account @Milliestopshate, but her personal account was history.
This begs the question: Why would anyone think it’s funny to turn Brown into a bigot? One Twitter user claimed, "It’s because Millie Bobby Brown maintains such a lovely public image that the idea of her doing anything like this is ridiculous." They went on to compare the juxtaposition to "a unicorn with a gun."
Reps for Brown didn’t get back to People after they requested a comment, but the actress soon made her feelings known — on the grandest possible scale.
She stood up to bullies at the MTV Awards
On June 18, 2018, Millie Bobby Brown bailed out on the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards due to a knee injury, but she nevertheless made quite the impression.
Brown wound up winning for "the best performance in a show," and her pre-recorded acceptance speech featured the actress shaming the Twitter hordes who helped perpetuate that hateful, homophobic meme. As Variety reports, Brown invoked a well-trodden maxim in her speech: "If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say it." Elsewhere, she said there "should be no space in this world for bullying, and I’m not going to tolerate it, and neither should any of you." She’d only deactivated her Twitter account a few days prior, so her wounds were still quite fresh.
And if you happen to be plotting your own troll-like Twitter attack, Brown would like you to contact her: "If you need a reminder of how worthy you are and to rise above the hate, message me on Instagram," she advised. Meanwhile, Brown’s Stranger Things co-star Noah Schnapp touched upon the Twitter misfortune during a red carpet interview, telling Variety: "I feel really bad for her." He added that deactivating Twitter was "a smart move by her. People are just insensitive."
She supported a lonely fan on his birthday
Aaron Alambat’s twelfth birthday party had everything a Stranger Things fan could hope for: Plenty of refreshing "Demogorgon Blood" and walls festooned with Christmas lights. Alas, none of Aaron’s peers turned up to his well-planned fete. "My brother waited outside our house for a little bit for his friends to show up," his older sister Ayen told Today in March 2018. "I wish they would have told him sooner."
Feeling for her brother, sixteen-year old Ayen took matters into her own hands, sharing his tale of woe on Twitter: "My brother invited 8 of his classmates for his stranger things themed bday party & none of their punk selves showed up," she wrote. Well, much like the Demogorgon, Twitter’s tentacles are long and far-reaching: The desperate message from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., quickly racked up over 287,000 "likes" and 60,000 retweets, eventually coming to the attention of one Millie Bobby Brown: "What!!!! Oh Well You can let them all know that everyone on behalf on Stranger things would’ve come!" she wrote (via Today), adding, "I think your awesome and next year I would like an invite… Please?"
Upon receiving the message, Aaron reportedly "started jumping up and down" with glee — and that was before Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo chimed in: "Count me in too! I’ll bring the chocolate pudding." The only thing missing from this beautiful story, naturally, is Barb, but wait… what’s this? She responded, too?!
Was she weeping for the end of Stranger Things?
In November 2018, Stranger Things fans feared the worst after Millie Bobby Brown posted a tearful Instagram Story. In their goading headline, editors at People wondered: "Is the show ending?" Granted, there were some valid reasons for concern: In one caption, Brown wrote that she was planning to "cry all day fyi." Then there were the messages she sent to co-stars Sadie Sink ("I can’t say goodbye") and Noah Schnapp ("This is not okay.") Finally, Brown posted a photo in which she was, in fact, crying, along with the caption: "Told u." As Refinery29 wrote, fans were officially worried that these posts spelled "the end of Stranger Things as we know it."
During a subsequent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Brown put all those anxieties to rest. Colbert held up one of these weepy photos and asked Brown: "Is this the tear of, like, ‘The Show Is Over’?" Her response: "No! I’m just a very emotional person. When it comes to my closest people, like, I’m not good at goodbyes." Brown made it clear that the photo was taken on "the last day of the season — of the season — not the show."
Aside from missing her co-stars, she admitted it was hard to say goodbye to "catering," because those are "the people I live off of, quite literally." Clearly that’s the real story here.
She’s deaf in one ear
Aside from acting, Millie Bobby Brown has a powerful singing voice, and she’s more than happy to show it off. "I wanted to be a singer when I was three," she told W magazine in 2017, adding that she "just started to, like, train myself." In 2016, she regaled Jimmy Fallon and some of her Stranger Things co-stars with an impromptu rendition of Nicki Minaj’s section in Kanye West’s "Monster" (while dousing everyone in silly string.) On top of also singing Bruno Mars’ "Just the Way You Are" for W magazine, she’s demonstrated that she can belt Beyoncé like nobody’s business (other than Beyoncé’s business, of course.)
Tone-deaf she’s not. But, as Variety reported, Brown was "born with partial loss of hearing" and is now completely deaf in one ear. This fact has never discouraged her from pursuing her passions. "I just started to sing," she told the publication, "and if I sound bad I don’t care, because I’m just doing what I love."
This next part will pique the interest of all those aspiring performers among her fanbase: "You don’t have to be good at singing," she said. "If you like to do it, if you genuinely enjoy doing it, then do it. No one should stop you."
She succinctly shot down a cyberbully
In November 2018, Millie Bobby Brown was named UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, making her the youngest person to ever assume the position. During a press conference, Brown said she was ecstatic to be working with The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, a non-profit she’s been supporting since 2016 (via CNBC.) Her goals are unequivocally lofty: "I will speak out for the millions of children and young people whose voices have been silenced for far too long," she promised. She also posted a video to Instagram, explaining that she had every intention of "ending bullying and ending violence, and making sure children have a safe environment."
As Buzzfeed reported, this message caught the eye of a jaded Instagram commentator, who asked her many loyal followers: "Anyone else starting to loose [sic] interest in millie?" Brown happened to see that message and really wasn’t having it: "Watch the video," she wrote, telling the creepo: "It’s okay to lose interest in me, but today we are taking a stand against online trolls."
And that, as they say, is that.