At just 13, Millie Bobby Brown is already a bona fide star thanks to her breakout turn as Eleven in the wildly popular Netflix show Stranger Things.” But that shouldn’t be surprising, since Brown decided at age eight that she would be onscreen and did everything in her power to make it happen.
“It was like a bug,” Brown told Variety of her desire to act. “I know this sounds crazy, but once I find something I want to do, nobody’s stopping me. If I don’t know how to sew, and I really had that passion to sew, that’s it, I’m going to sew. That’s also with acting. So here I am.”
But things haven’t always been easy for the actress. She also revealed to Variety she has never taken an acting class in her life or trained to be a singer. But she does both—while also being completely deaf in one of her ears.
She shared with the magazine that she was born with partial loss of hearing in one of her ears, but eventually after years of tubes, her hearing completely faded away on that side. When she’s performing—either acting or singing—she can’t fully hear herself. In the first season of Stranger Things, Brown made use of her other senses when playing Eleven, who didn’t talk much: “You can talk with your face,” she says matter-of-factly. “It’s very easy for someone to say, ‘I’m mad. I’m sad. I’m angry.’ I have to just do it with my face.”
Acting and singing with partial hearing loss could shake a young actress’s confidence, but Brown has never let it affect her. “I just started to sing, and if I sound bad, I don’t care, because I’m just doing what I love,” she said. “You don’t have to be good at singing. You don’t have to be good at dancing or acting. If you like to do it, if you genuinely enjoy doing it, then do it. No one should stop you.”