Millie Bobby Brown reveals what it's like attending university as a famous actor
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When she’s not starring in the biggest TV show in the world or writing her first novel, Millie Bobby Brown is a university student and like every teen in higher education, she says there have been a few shocks.
The 19-year-old multi-hyphenate, who rose to international fame starring in Netflix’s behemoth series Stranger Things as Eleven, has not only become a world-renowned celeb but also became UNICEF’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador. It's a very big deal.
So much so, Brown decided to pursue a degree studying health and human sciences at Purdue University, which is based in West Lafayette, Indiana.
“I was shocked at kind of how university came into my life because I never really expected it for myself," she told UNILAD.
"But after taking, you know, the role of the as a UNICEF ambassador, I took it really seriously to make sure I had all the right information with what I was passionate about in regards to UNICEF.
"So, uni life is fun. I mean, it's online. So, it's not probably as exciting as everyone else. But it's very, very important to me and I value education very much."
Brown was just nine years old when she made her acting debut in ABC’s short-lived fantasy drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. She was only 12 in the first season of Stranger Things and after seven years and four seasons, we're finally set to bid adieu to the Upside Down and Vecna once and for all with the upcoming fifth season.
However, production has been halted due to the ongoing SAG AFTRA strike which started in July following the Writers Guild of America strike which commenced in May.
Over the last few weeks leading up to the release of Nineteen Steps, Brown’s novel that is inspired by the stories her beloved late grandmother Ruth told her as a child about living during WWII, Brown hasn’t spent any time in the last few weeks reflecting on her long list of achievements. “I think that no one really sits with those thoughts because if I did, I think I would... it's an overwhelming feeling. And I think I'm incredibly grateful for each thing that I get as they come.”
Before becoming a global star, Brown, who was born in Spain to British parents before moving to Bournemouth, would spend time with her nan at her home in Bethnal Green, east London, the same place where the book is set. She managed to go back just three days before the book’s release virtually under the radar.
“I went back pretty much on every school holiday that I could I got and then the same goes for Christmases, summers. My dad would drive me down and then drop me off and I would stay there and I would sob when I had to leave because I absolutely loved spending that time with my Nan. And it was so beautiful in London during that time anyway, so they're very fond memories.”
Nineteen Steps is a cinematic historical romance that blends the harsh realities of war, coming of age and a good old fashioned love triangle. Set in the wartime years of 1942-1945, the fiction book focuses on Nellie, an 18-year-old young woman from the East End who works as a secretary for the mayor of Bethnal Green. The Enola Holmes star said she can imagine herself playing Nellie if the book gets turned into a film, which she hopes it does one day.
Putting the book together was both 'therapeutic' and 'healing' for Brown following her nan's death. "Right before she died, we audio recorded her so we were able to get all the details for all the stories, so we didn't miss a beat. It was a really wonderful experience to write such personal stories and memories.”
Brown worked on the book with the help of writer Kathleen McGurl who described their process on her blog. "I was sent a lot of research that had already been pulled together by Millie and her family, and plenty of ideas, and we had a couple of Zoom calls," she explained. "And then I knuckled down and wrote the first draft, while Millie continued sending more ideas via WhatsApp. The book went through several drafts since then, as we refined the story."
Brown had nothing but praise to say about working with McGurl, telling UNILAD: “It was really amazing. I think one because she's a woman so she speaks directly into that feeling of being in love and having friendships and going through life, just the complexities of just being a woman and two, she's a historical fiction writer and I am not.
"So she brought the truth and the history of the actual events that occurred, and then I brought more of the experiences and the emotion behind it, because obviously, I had so many feelings toward what happened.
“So it was just a recipe for success and a great collaboration.”
Because Nineteen Steps is extremely special for Brown and her family, she isn’t worried about how it’s received by critics - but judging by the reactions by AP and the New York et al, she has nothing to worry about.
“I think ultimately, it's so important and personal to me, that I want people to feel however they feel when reading the book because I did that going into it, writing it, reading it doing the audiobook, I allowed myself to be open and feel all the feelings and so that's all I can ask for anyone reading it”