Drew Barrymore interviewed Millie Bobby Brown for Teen Vogue. Worlds collide. ET and Stranger Things. It was always meant to happen. But what happened when it happened?
On the surface, this is a pretty innocuous discussion. Drew asks Millie about auditioning, about growing up famous in the age of social media, about fashion; it’s not meant to be anything more than cute. Until you consider Drew’s background and her experience as a child star and the effect it had on her as a young adult and then later in proper adulthood, which totally informs how she sees Millie’s experience –or doesn’t. Which is another layer of discomfort I’m taking away from this interview. The discomfort happens midway through the conversation – here’s the section:
DB: That’s what chemistry and growing up together is like! Speaking of family, what’s your family life like?
MBB: It’s really fun. I have a 19-year-old brother [Charley]; he’s my best friend. A five-year-old sister, Ava, who brings out the child in me. And then my older sister, Paige—she’s 23 and takes me everywhere. We do family things, like watch lots of movies and have family meetings about everything from schedules to getting a new dog.
DB: I grew up in a single-parent home where no one told me what was right or wrong. There was no parental guru. Do your parents talk to you about boundaries?
MBB: Of course. My mum helps me look my age. Like, I can play with makeup, but I can’t go crazy. She’s also like, “You can’t wear that crop top.” My dad is security, while my siblings take care of my eating, keep me grounded, and make sure I get rest. We are a team.
DB: Seems all-hands-on-deck! Family creates a safe place. Especially since everything changed overnight for you, like it did for me. But the difference is that you’re coming of age during the social media boom. What is that like?
It’s the way Millie described her family and the role that each person in the family has to play in HER life. Last October, Duana posted about Millie after it was reported that while in the process of getting her a new agent, her father was demanding a $10 million signing bonus up front. Six months later, Duana wrote again about Millie dropping out of a fan convention appearance because she was exhausted. Millie Bobby Brown isn’t Jaden Smith. Jaden doesn’t have to work to support his family. Millie Bobby Brown is her family’s business. And when your mother is involved in your look, and your dad handles security (and signing bonuses) and your siblings are there to make sure you rest and eat well, it seems as though everyone has a stake in the family business. The family business is a 13 year old girl.
For Drew though, as she says, given that she grew up in a single-parent situation, of course this sounds ideal. Because Millie’s example represents what she considers her opposite, the dream fantasy family she always wanted. Does that make it better though? Drew’s issue was that there was no one to tell her right or wrong. In Millie’s case, it sounds like her rights and wrongs not only impact her entire family, they literally sustain or set back the family. Is that really a “safe space”?
Click here to read Drew Barrymore’s full interview with Millie Bobby Brown at Teen Vogue and to see the photos.