Why we're worried about Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown hit the big time when she starred as the instantly iconic telekinetic pre-teen Eleven in Netflix's '80s sci-fi series Stranger Things. But, much like her character, she may have some serious challenges ahead of her — except Brown will have to navigate the real world of fame and celebrity as a child actor rather than battle mysterious monsters from the Upside Down. 

From landing her first kiss — with hundreds of people watching — to navigating the social media landscape of intense fandom and intense hate, Brown's young life is magnifying what would already be difficult coming-of-age experiences. An intense work schedule and nonstop travel add to the madness. Then there's the potential objectification of the red carpet, the scandalous rumors surrounding her romantic life, and a trolling episode that drove her off Twitter. How is she handling all this fame and fortune, and who's looking out for her well-being?

While we're sure this young star has a good head on her shoulders, read on to find out why we're worried about Millie Bobby Brown.

Baby big shot

Gaining immediate fame can definitely warp a kid's sense of reality — and their sense of right and wrong. While Brown, who snagged an Emmy nomination at age 13, appears to be keeping her wits about her, she's still a child, and all youngsters make mistakes. The only difference is that hers could have dire repercussions that potentially affect her career, her health, and her reputation.

Regarding Brown's future as a superstar, her Stranger Things co-star David Harbour, who plays Police Chief Jim Hopper on the show, told Variety, "I'm leery of blowing too much smoke up her already well-filled smoke a**." He added, "Because I do feel that when I'm in the nursing home, I would like to be able to watch movies with her in her 30s and have her become Meryl Streep. She has the potential for that to happen."

Obsessed with Eleven

Millie Bobby Brown will forever be known as the often-silent superpowered scene-stealer in Stranger Things. Her character has gone down in history as a fierce friend with an Eggo addiction — which is why her character's E.T.-like getup from season one, in which she dons a blonde wig and pink dress, has gone on to inspire countless costumes for people of all ages — even adult males.

"It's so crazy," Brown told late night host Jimmy Fallon during a November 2017 interview. "… I can't really, like, think about it too much, cause if I think about it, it freaks me out. That like grown men are dressing up as me." Yeah, that's pretty darn creepy.

While it's certainly flattering to see fans connect so strongly with a character, it's likely disconcerting for the actress to witness people's obsession with her on-screen persona, and all the attention could definitely lead to some uncomfortable fan encounters.

Addicted to acting

Though Brown may only be a teenager, she's no stranger to taking on heavy responsibilities. Besides playing the lead character on Stranger Things, Brown's also set to star in a major film franchise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, alongside Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, and Bradley Whitford. As if that weren't enough, Brown is expected to both produce and star in the film adaptations of Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes Mysteries, reported Deadline. While these gigs will surely help secure Brown's place in Hollywood, they'll also be keeping her super busy. 

Fortunately, she seems to be okay with making big career commitments. "It's like I crave it," she told Interview magazine in 2016, speaking about her workaholic tendencies, "and when I get on set — it's not just that I love what I do — I love meeting new people. … It's really nice to go to work every day." Brown is still far too young to have to worry about holding down a job, but we hope that she can find the time to be a kid too.

Growing pains

Puberty is an awkward time for everybody. From the physical changes and rush of hormones to the fashion faux pas and social anxiety, teenagers can have a rough time, but it's even worse for emerging adults when they're thrust into the spotlight, where fans and haters alike can follow along with their each and every move. Poor Brown already experienced a serious invasion of privacy when her first kiss was broadcast to the whole world, courtesy of Stranger Things.

"It was definitely strange," Brown said of the kiss between her character and Mike, played by Finn Wolfhard (via Interview magazine). "It was, like, my first kiss, so it was kind of weird." And it's not like Brown and Wolfhard were the only ones around when they filmed their big kissing scene. Speaking to Variety, she noted, "Having 250 people looking at you kissing someone is like, 'Whoa!'"

Poor Millie. We can't help but wish she could have snagged her first smooch with a real-life sweetheart — not with her co-worker.

Puppy love in the press

While her first kiss may have been for the camera, Brown has since sparked a romance with another Hollywood up-and-comer, Jacob Sartorius. According to AOL, the two were first linked in October 2017, after Brown shared a photo of the singer in her Instagram Stories. Their rumored relationship is certainly cute — just look at the giant teddy bear he gave her — but it's ability to make headlines is a little disturbing, considering their young ages.

If and when things go sour for Brown and Sartorius, the typical teenage drama that they'll experience will surely be examined under a microscope, with every Instagram, tweet, and snap inspected for clues about their break up. At a time when kids are just starting to show interest in dating, they don't need to have their private lives publicized.

Racking up miles

Traveling can take a toll on a person, but for a child, not being able to stay in a single spot during one's developmental years can prove especially rough. As to be expected with her major acting jobs, Brown is always traveling. 

Speaking to her friend and fellow star Maddie Ziegler for a piece in Interview, Brown said she lives "on an airplane." She added, "I don't really live anywhere at the moment. I lived in L.A. for a while and I kind of live in L.A. now. I live in England to do stuff, I lived in Atlanta … I could possibly be moving back there, so I kind of live everywhere…" While Brown may be okay with constant traveling for now, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that she'd grown sick of not having a permanent place to call home. 

Not to mention, world travel can also pose potential dangers, which Brown experienced firsthand in late 2017. During a trip to Bali, the actress found herself stranded when an active volcano threatened the island, reported USA Today). Brown's safety and security are definitely more important than her career. Let's just hope Hollywood doesn't try to force her to think otherwise.

Hello to the haters

In today's day and age, a social media presence is a must-have — especially for celebs trying to connect with fans. That said, social media can have seriously damaging effects on pubescent youngins who may already be predisposed to self-esteem issues. 

Stranger Things' co-star David Harbour is already worried about his co-star, who's growing up in an age where people are preoccupied with getting likes and followers. "She is in the cross-hairs of something extremely dangerous that nobody seems to be paying attention to," Harbour told the Daily Mail, noting that he never had to worry about growing a following as a kiddo. "I think the developing mind of someone who gets this famous and has still a brain that is not fully developed is an extremely difficult thing to navigate, and I hope that she gets the help that she needs."

Given that Brown previously celebrated snagging 11 million followers on Instagram — and, at the time of this writing, boasts more than 13 million — she definitely appears to place a huge importance on social media. Hopefully, as she gets older, she'll be able to separate herself from her online accounts. After all, she's a person, not an Instagram handle.

Teenage role model

Brown may have found early success, but that's no reason for youngsters everywhere to idolize her. Let's be clear — she's by no means a bad influence. She's just simply too young to carry the weight of being a role model.

"To live in the moment and to make mistakes is a big part of being a person," Brown told Variety. "I'm still just a kid. I'm 13, and making mistakes is okay."

That's right, Brown. You do you. It's hard enough being a world-famous actress. You shouldn't have to be a mentor too.

Famous friendships

Fortunately, throughout all the ups and downs that come with fame, Brown has a support team that's got her back. Not only can she lean on her family, she can also depend on her Stranger Things co-stars when times get tough.

In January 2018, co-star David Harbour opened up to Hollywood Life about his special relationship with Brown. "I have never had a daughter. I don't have children, so what I get from her is this feeling of being a father … this protective feeling of love, of a protective love that isn't romantic love and I rarely feel that in my my life for things other than cats."

One thing's for sure: If anybody messes with Brown in the future, they better watch out for her on-screen and off-screen protector.

Dating drama

Millie Bobby Brown's once-adorable romance with Jacob Sartorius took a turn for the scandalous when the singer was exposed for reportedly cheating on the Stranger Things star. According to Australian teen publication Girlfriend, Sartorius allegedly asked a girl online to send him nude photos via Snapchat. A Twitter user claimed he met her friend and later requested she share revealing pictures of herself with him, supposedly promising to "talk to her everyday" in return. 

That Twitter user later apologized for the incident and claimed that she'd lied about the whole thing, but another girl came forward with similar dirt. That girl? Morgan Cryer, who starred with Sartorius in his music video for "By Your Side." Cryer later alleged that she'd been hacked and apologized for making a "private situation… public." That apology has reportedly since been deleted from her social media.

It's hard to tell if these girls were telling the truth, but, regardless of whether or not the rumors were true, the whole ordeal must have weighed heavily on Brown's mind. Girlfriend reported that Brown deleted all photos of her and Sartorius off her Instagram account following the news. Poor girl. No teen should have to go through relationship drama in the public eye.

Round two of their romance

Not long after she cleansed her Instagram page of Sartorius, Brown appeared to have made up with the internet personality. While their old photos together were already gone, Brown posted a new one to apparently show fans that they'd moved past his alleged cheating (via Girlfriend). In the photo, Brown clings to Sartorius as he gives her a piggyback ride.

We suspect Brown was expecting some hate regarding her apparent decision to stick with Sartorius because she disabled the comments in the caption-less post. We'd hate to think that the young actress was bent out of shape over her renewed romance with Sartorius, but, at the same time, we hope she's careful in her relationship. If the rumors about Sartorius are true, it's totally possible he'd hurt her again. After all, the saying goes, "Once a cheater, always a cheater."

Teased by Hollywood and criticized by fans

A month after she effectively announced her back-on romance with Sartorius, Brown shared another photo of her and her boyfriend getting close, posting a pic of the two of them kissing on the beach. "Moonlight with him," she wrote beside the photo. Brown was then quickly teased by the likes of Ariana Grande for her PDA-filled 'gram. "I wasn't even allowed to leave my house til I was 20," the pop star said in a comment.

But not all comments were as light-hearted as Grande's. As noted by NME, some social media users criticized Brown for engaging in such a serious romance at her young age. "You are acting like you are a grown woman," one commenter wrote. "Don't waste your childhood."

Soon after posting the photo, Brown took it down and replaced it with a snap of Sartorius carrying her on the beach, writing, "I'm alright, but even better w u."

Did Brown feel pressured by her fans to post a less affectionate photo? We can't know for sure, but it sure seems like it. Must not be easy for her to walk the line between being an adorable child star and a teen in love.

Becoming a homophobic meme

No one saw 2018 as being the year that Netflix icon Millie Bobby Brown became the face of homophobic tweets. Let's be clear: Brown herself didn't partake in any cruel behavior. Rather, her image and name were used without her consent in homophobic slurs online. 

According to USA Today, one such tweet read, "I was in McDonald's today and saw Millie Bobby Brown, went up to her and asked for a picture when she yelled '(expletive) you (homophobic slur)-looking homo walrus h*e burn in hell' and beat me up till I blacked out then left on her private jet, someone stop her." Posts like these were often accompanied by the hashtag "TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown."

The constant memes became too much for Brown — who, may we remind you, is a child — and she soon quit Twitter. She later addressed the whole thing while accepting an MTV Movie & TV award for best performance in a show via a pre-recorded video. "Since I know there are many young people watching this — and even for the adults, too — they could probably use the reminder that I was taught: if you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say it," she said. "There should be no space in this world for bullying, and I'm not going to tolerate it, and neither should any of you." 

This goes without saying, but Brown shouldn't have ever had to remind her haters of common human decency.