We got to know her as the endearing Eleven, a shaven-headed girl with special powers and a soft spot for Eggos. Millie Bobby Brown was just 12 years old when she landed that breakout role on Netflix’s Strangers Things. IMDB declared her the biggest breakout star of that year and her bookshelf promptly filled with awards.
Time (and Hollywood) can be notoriously unkind to child actors, but Brown, now 17, has managed the transition to teenage thespian with poise and aplomb. She made her feature film debut in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and reprised her role in this year’s Godzilla vs. Kong. She also headlined the movie adaptation of The Enola Holmes Mysteries, even serving as a producer on the picture.
Then, there are all her extracurriculars. She has starred in campaigns for Calvin Klein and Moncler and set records as the youngest person to ever be appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the youngest person to ever make it on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She’s also debuted a cosmetics line, florence by mills (all lowercase because Gen Z-ers are cool like that), which nabbed the Beauty Inc. Award for “Best Launch of 2019.” Starting today, it’s available in Canada through Shoppers Drug Mart.
So what’s left to strive for when you’ve accomplished so much before even reaching voting age? Brown’s got a few ideas. Big ones.
You named your brand florence as a tribute to your great-grandma. Can you tell me a bit about her? What was she like?
“From all the stories I’ve heard about my great-grandmother, she was truly a woman who danced to the beat of her own drum. She was very true to herself and always spoke her mind. I never actually met her, which is so sad because I know we would have had so much fun together, but the stories about her have made me feel close to her. I love that florence is named after a strong, independent woman who always followed her heart. She taught me to really trust my gut and that when I have a feeling about something, it’s probably for a reason and to follow that feeling. Also, to continue to always speak up for what I believe in and use my voice to create positive change in the world. Things really do start with just speaking up!”
On the topic of speaking up, you gave a powerful speech at the UN in 2019 in which you said, “young people don’t want to be talked about. We want to do the talking.” Why is it so important for young people to have a seat at the table?
“We are the future. Why should we not have a say in what the world will look like for us and our children? We care and want to help to make change because it is so personal and important for us. I think so much change is possible when all voices are given a platform and that is the positive purpose of social media. Younger people are coming forward to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t okay and we need to do something!’ which encourages us to all come together to make sure our voices are heard.”
“There’s such power in saying ‘no’ and sacrificing glory in order to preserve your mind, body and spirit”
So many young people look up to you. Who are some people you look up to?
“I really admire young female activists like Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, who are speaking out and in action, changing the world and influencing many generations of people across the world to follow in their footsteps. They spoke out in spite of the fear of not being taken seriously and regardless, they command respect, their voices are being heard and they are leading the charge. Also, talking about mental health wellness and self-care, especially for young people, is important to me. Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles recently showed the world what it means to put yourself first in times of scrutiny, struggle and enormous pressure. There’s such power in saying ‘no’ and sacrificing glory in order to preserve your mind, body and spirit. I respect and admire that so much, and it’s a lesson for everyone to not doubt your voice. If something is important to you, then never stop talking about it.”
Speaking of mental health, you’ve said in the past that florence by mills is all about loving and embracing ourselves, which can be so tough to do, especially at a young age. I’m curious to know what your journey of self-love has been like.
“I don’t know if I’d say I was always confident, but I always felt free to just be me. I was a loud child, always singing, dancing and putting on a show, and was never made to feel like that wasn’t okay. I owe all of that to my family. We have a very close and honest relationship and I was always encouraged to be myself. That’s what led me to pursue what I love doing. I feel most confident doing what I love and I think there’s some deeper meaning there. Self-love is a long journey and so different for everyone. I think it’s very important for everyone to take that journey. I’m still on it myself!”
What’s been your favourite thing about developing your brand?
“The ability to take in feedback from the followers and create products that they really want to see and use. I love reading comments and showing that I am here and listening. I know what it’s like to feel a little lost in the beauty community. Before florence, I felt like there wasn’t a place for me and now my goal is to really have florence be that brand where everyone can find their place and the right products for them.”
FLORENCE BY MILLS
florence by mills Dreamy Dew Moisturizer, $22, shoppersdrugmart.ca
What florence by mills product would you say has had the biggest impact on your skin?
“I always say this but our Dreamy Dew Moisturizer is a product I have with me at all times and makes the biggest difference to my skin. When filming, there are long days where a lot of products are applied to my face and I have pretty dry skin anyway, so our Dreamy Dew Moisturizer is that one product I always reach for after a long day to get all that moisture back to my skin and give it the hydration it needs.”
FLORENCE BY MILLS
florence by mills Cheek Me Later Cream Blush Cream Blush, $19, shoppersdrugmart.ca
If you’ve got to get ready in a rush, what’s your 5-minute makeup routine?
“For a quick 5-minute routine, I always use five products. I start with the Dreamy Dew Moisturizer after I’ve cleansed my skin. This gives my skin a good hydrated base. Then, I’ll use our See You Never Concealer to quickly brighten under my eyes and subtly cover any spots. I’ll then pop some of our Cheek Me Never Blush on my cheeks, nose, and lips. I love using our blushes on my lips, they give such a good pop of colour. Built to Lash Mascara would be next to wake my eyes up a bit. Lastly, I finish with our Glow Yeah Lip Oil to make sure my lips are glowy and hydrated.”
FLORENCE BY MILLS
florence by mills Built to Lash Mascara, $18, shoppersdrugmart.ca
What are some things that always make you happy?
“My family and my dogs, picking fresh veggies from my garden, watching holiday movies with my family, cozy onesies, and seeing all the amazing videos fans create with florence products online.”
You’re only 17, yet have accomplished so much. Where would you like to be 10 years from now?
“In 10 years, I’d love to be continuing my work with UNICEF, that will always be important. I have always wanted a farm with a bunch of animals so maybe that will happen too, although I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to run a farm! I would really love to be directing, that’s a big dream of mine, so hoping for that. And I see florence continuing to grow and spread positivity while branching out into all worlds of beauty, skincare, health, fashion…etc.”