Amandla Stenberg isn’t afraid to talk about her true sexuality, even if she had to come out twice to get there.
“Gender and sexuality are so fluid—it’s okay to change your mind a million times and figure out what works for you,” she said. “It’s okay to take your time… I’d been out as bisexual, and people have known I’m queer for a long time. I saw some comments that made me chuckle, like, ‘Girl, we been knew!’ But I wanted to make it very clear that I have romantic love for women.”
The Hate U Give actress, 19, has been dating fellow 19-year-old musician King Princess, whose real name is Mikaela Straus, since earlier this summer. The two made one of their first major public appearances at the 2018 VMA Awards last month.
Stenberg said that “internalized homophobia” delayed her acceptance of her sexually and admitted to feeling “so much discomfort around hooking up with dudes.” But when she was intimate with girls, Stenberg said “it was the happiest I’d been in any sexual dynamic.”
Eventually, the Hunger Games actress realized she couldn’t hide under general terms anymore.
“I love that we have this umbrella term of queer, and so many things can exist underneath it, but I realized that part of my journey was hiding underneath that umbrella, because I was scared—on a personal and a public level—to confront what I was. It was easier for me to say ‘I’m bi’ or ‘I’m pan’ as I was figuring it out. But I came to a place where I felt really proud of my sexuality, and I decided I wanted to share that pride,” she explained.
The Hate U Give is in theaters Oct. 5.