How to Build Your Young Voice Like the 16-Year Old Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown, at the tender age of 16, is already an accomplished entrepreneur, producer and award-winning actor. In 2018 she became the youngest-ever listed on Times magazine’s top 100 list, and UNICEF’s youngest-ever Goodwill Ambassador. Her accreditations speak for themselves. This article will share the "secrets" to Millie’s success at such a young age.
1. Keep Your Support Group Close
It is common for the role of the support group to be left out in success stories, and independent achievement is often glamourized. Yet the support group is a critical – if unacknowledged - ingredient in equations of great success: Picasso had his art teacher father and his doting mother; Van Gogh had his brother, who provided him with unfailing financial and emotional support.
Millie has a crucial support group in her parents and siblings. When she was discovered by a talent scout in 2013, the scout told Millie’s parents that she has “instincts you cannot teach”. This was a catalyst for Millie’s parents to move from Florida to LA, to enable the then-12-year-old’s acting dreams.
Even when pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by the extravagant re-location, to the point where Millie’s British-born manager Melanie Greene lent the family money to help them survive, Millie’s parents still prioritised her dream. This huge sacrifice Millie’s parents made was a necessary step in propelling her to where she is today. Never underestimate the power of your support group.
Credit: Bridget Chin
2. Internalize a Narrative of Hard-won Success
Millie’s success story started with many obstacles including financial strain and hard-hitting rejections.
Talent needs tenacity in order to become successful and expecting the road to success to be smooth will do you many psychological disfavours and can set you up for failure. Expecting a difficult road primes your mind for the resilience needed to succeed.
Credit: Bridget Chin
3. Understand that Rejection is Not about Inherent Worth
This is easier said than done, but Millie’s story is a remarkable example of transcending rejection.
When her family moved to LA in 2013, Millie landed many minor roles, however she kept getting passed over for starring roles. It was when she was rejected for the role of Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones that Millie came very close to quitting.
When talking to Jimmy Fallon on his talk show this October, Millie said, “Like, this industry is just full of rejection, 24/7. You get far more ‘nos’ – a lot of ‘nos’ – before you get a ‘yes’. I was auditioning for commercials, for anything, really. I then auditioned for Game of Thrones and I got a ‘no’ for that. Then that’s kind of when I was like, ‘Oh, this is really difficult,’ because I guess I really wanted that role.” Two months after this demoralising rejection, Millie landed the starring role as Eleven in Stranger Things, and the rest is stardom.
Though she might not have felt it at the time, in her decision to continue going to castings after this set-back, Millie understood that rejection is not about inherent worth. Let rejection be your prologue to success.
4. Build a Next-level Personal Brand
People are brands and being successful involves taking your personal brand to the next level.
In a recent instagram post, Millie commented on her lead role in the upcoming film, Enola Holmes, saying, “She is a feisty one, yes, but Enola fights for the greater good, […] Sending all my love, respect and appreciation to those who have embraced the Enola that lives in us all, especially the young girl warriors out there! I see you! “The future is up to us!”.
The role and personality of Enola Holmes is very ‘on brand’ for Millie. Millie’s message sounds loud and true: she stands for uplifting and encourage young girls to be strong, confident women. Her voice and her career decisions reinforce this, making for powerful, comprehensive branding.
Taking her image further, Millie’s cosmetic and skincare brand, Florence by Mills is a perfect example of purposeful branding. Their website states, “Florence is about defining beauty on our own terms. No rules. No struggle toward perfection”.
In an era where female beauty constitutes looking like you went to the same plastic surgeon as the hottest celebrity, Millie and her makeup brand are counter-culture icons. The message of being true to yourself and your ideals is one that will never age.
Take a note from Millie’s success, and position yourself and your personal brand in a way that ensures that the time and energy you put in today, will still be paying dividends in the future.
To summarise, the secrets to Millie’s early career success are:
- Keep your support group close
- Internalise a narrative of hard-won success
- Understand that rejection is not about inherent worth
- Build a next-level personal brand
Millie’s glowing career is still unfolding; as well as the upcoming Stranger Things season 4, she also just released a Netflix original movie Enola Holmes. Next, she'll return to her role as Madison in the Godzilla sequel, and she'll play a con artist in the Netflix adaptation of Tess Sharpe's book, The Girls I've Been.
One final takeaway of this article is that history is still being made. Take it from Millie Bobby Brown that this time, it will include women.
Image credits: Millie Bobby Brown images @milliebobbybrown on Instagram and Facebook.