She has 8.6m Instagram followers, Obama is in her fan club and she’d like to work in a care home. Millie Bobby Brown talks to Siena Yates.

At just 13 years old, Millie Bobby Brown is one of the biggest stars in the world and she knows it.

Not in an arrogant way — Brown is as genuinely humble as a child star could be, but she's definitely aware of her status. How could she not be?

She's the breakout star of one of the biggest TV shows in the world, Stranger Things.

She's appeared on major Hollywood talk shows, has 8.6 million Instagram followers and a Hollywood fan club that includes the Kardashians, Drake, Meryl Streep, Barack Obama and Aaron Paul, who at one point pleaded to adopt Brown as his own.

Advertisement

You'd expect Brown to be overwhelmed, but instead she says: "I'm just really appreciative.

"I really look up to some of these people, so it definitely means a lot when they love the show and feel somewhat connected to [her character] Eleven. It's a really great reward to have ... these people that you'd absolutely never think would sit there on Netflix watching this weird show about a girl with a shaved head, and see that they actually enjoyed it. It means a lot."

Millie Bobby Brown wants to be age appropriate and happy. Photo / Ryan Pfluger
Millie Bobby Brown wants to be age appropriate and happy. Photo / Ryan Pfluger

When we speak she has a team of people with her who, for the most part, stay quiet and let her take the lead. She answers interview questions as deftly as stars triple her age, she's poised and polite but also somewhat guarded.

She's already learned to be weary of media and it's little surprise; despite her age, Brown is already finding herself sexualised in magazines, frequenting lists of Hollywood's "sexiest" stars, and being forced to field questions about her fashion choices and love life.

After all that, it wouldn't be surprising if Brown had fallen into the trap of growing up too fast, but she seems genuinely immune to it.

"People immediately think that with fame comes an ego and you become more big-headed or things like that, but ...I still have my life, I still have to do school every day and take the bins out — everything any other 13-year-old would have to do — but also I have something else I love to do, which is work."

Her favourite moments are nothing to do with fame, fortune or celebrity encounters, they're being nominated alongside Winona Ryder, meeting Barack Obama and having her friends on set.

But more than all of that, her major point of pride is that her success has given her a platform to help others. She's a self-described carer — if she wasn't acting, she would want to work in a care home.

"I love caring for people. Even with ... all the other kids on set, if they were ever sick I would get them Advil [pain relief], I would get them anything they needed. I love caring for people, I feel like working in a care home would be representing who I genuinely am," she says.

And she's doing that on a massive scale. Brown's portrayal of the powerful Eleven has seen her become something of a feminist icon and, between that and her fame, she's gained a platform to help and inspire young girls and has even begun working with Unicef and the Malala Fund.

"I just think it's the coolest thing a 13-year-old could get to do ... love it, I think it's a true honour," she says.

But is that a lot to take on, for someone so young? Well, not if they're Millie Bobby Brown.

"There's no responsibility really, but there's definitely an image to uphold because I want to be inspiring to young girls. Nobody really has a 13-year-old girl inspiring younger girls and I just think; my little sister's 5 and I want parents to be like 'oh I'm glad you're looking up to Millie'.

Millie Bobby Brown's favourite moments are nothing to do with fame, fortune or celebrity encounters.
Millie Bobby Brown's favourite moments are nothing to do with fame, fortune or celebrity encounters.

"I want to be age appropriate and happy and inspire little girls to do what they want to do and love what they want to love, so I think it's really important for me to do that now that I have the platform to do so."

Even when I ask Brown her biggest dream — the one project or opportunity she'd jump at, she answers without hesitation: "To be an ambassador of Unicef, that's my absolute goal in life to be totally honest with you."

She then nonchalantly adds: "To win an Emmy would be kind of cool, I guess. But ambassador of Unicef would be my main thing."

Either way, Brown has the world at her feet. We may even soon see her embark on a music career — she's been singing for years and has even astounded late-night show audiences with her talent.

But although "singing has always been a passion", Brown's in no rush to pursue that extra level of stardom.

"I'm just going to wait, I don't want people to watch me on TV, go outside, hear me on the radio, see me on a billboard, like that's way too much of my face and my voice," she says shuddering.

"I have literally my whole life ahead of me so I'm not going to rush into things. I definitely want to space things out and make sure that I know what I want to do and what I want to write about and sing about, because again, I'm 13, and I'm not rushing things at all."

Lowdown
Stranger Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix