Millie Bobby Brown is celebrating her Sweet 16 by getting real about the public scurrility she receives.
The “Stranger Things” star turned 16 on Wednesday and marked the occasion by sharing a video on Instagram that features several harsh (and slightly ridiculous) headlines about her as Justin Bieber‘s “Changes” plays in the background. These headlines are soon followed by red carpet and behind-the-scenes footage of Brown in which she’s often shown laughing and smiling.
In her caption, Brown expressed a desire for a cultural shift toward positivity.
“I feel like change needs to happen for not only this generation but the next,” she wrote. “Our world needs kindness and support in order for us children to grow and succeed.”
She then emphasised how difficult it is to grow up in the spotlight when negativity is constantly directed at you.
“The last few years haven’t been easy, I’ll admit that,” she wrote. “There are moments i get frustrated from the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization, and unnecessary insults that ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me.”
But just like in her video, the post pivoted to a message of hope while laughing in the face of adversity.
“But not ever will i be defeated,” the actor wrote. “I’ll continue doing what i love and spreading the message [of kindess] in order to make change.”
This isn’t the first time Brown has been outspoken about the impact unsolicited wrath can have on a child.
In January, Brown gave a speech at the United Nations about being bullied at school and, more recently, online.
“Bullying and online threats are never harmless,” Brown said. “Never just words. It puts children’s mental health at risk. It causes stress, and in the most extreme cases … it can lead to self-harm, sickness and even suicide.”