As I was getting older, I started reading a variety of the things people were saying about me and felt that same feeling of rejection, like when I didn’t get an acting job. I felt alone in that feeling, like no one else knew what I was going through. The influence of social media and the press had a negative effect on my mental health and anxiety is still a huge battle I am dealing with today. Luckily with the love and support from my friends, animals and family, I feel strong enough to censor and protect my world. I do not feel alone anymore.
But with that, I am very aware of other child actors and young people simply living in today’s world with that same feeling of loneliness, rejection and insecurity. Social media is detrimental to the minds of my generation and the ones that come after. Mental health is not a taboo topic, it’s a necessary one. Talk to one another. Be kind to one another. Understand and empathise with another. Remember, we are human beings, and we are just being.
For eight years I wanted to sparkle, flourish and break out of the boxes everyone tried putting me in. I decided to be quiet when taking interviews and not say anything that could be twisted, because I was scared. But that fire and free spirit in me was bursting to come out.
And it didn’t take long for me to finally realise, I didn’t care. That who I was, was enough. That I could choose the kind of life I wanted to live and the world I wanted to live in.
Instead of talking about what I’m wearing, how much I weigh, who I’m friends with, or what restaurants I eat at, let’s talk about how the Lionesses played in the Women’s World Cup this year for England, or how Coco Gauff won the US Open.
Or how Brooke Shields released her documentary this year, and spoke out about her struggles of growing up in the spotlight.
I want to thank GLAMOUR for honouring me with this and holding this event so that women all over the world are acknowledged for their skills, abilities and achievements.
I share this award with young girls all over the world watching. If I can ask you to do anything, remember these rules:
Don’t let anyone box you in.
Don’t let yourself be rejected.
Don’t people please.
And as my Nanny Ruth told me frequently,
Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.
This story originally appeared on GLAMOUR US.