Millie Bobby Brown Turns 16, Reflects on 'Sexualization' and 'Unnecessary Insults' She's Endured

"The last few years haven't been easy, I'll admit that," said the Stranger Things star

Millie Bobby Brown is celebrating her birthday with full transparency.

The Stranger Things star turned 16 on Wednesday, sharing an Instagram montage of several negative headlines about her as Justin Bieber‘s “Changes” played in the background, followed by footage of the actress’ life growing up.

In the caption, Brown emphasized the importance of kindness in society today and for the future.

“Ya girls 16 :),” she began. “16 has felt like a long time coming. i feel like change needs to happen for not only this generation but the next. our world needs kindness and support in order for us children to grow and succeed.”

“The last few years haven’t been easy, I’ll admit that,” she continued. “There are moments i get frustrated from the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization, and unnecessary insults that ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me.”

But Brown promised that “not ever will I be defeated.”

“l continue doing what I love and spreading the message in order to make change,” she said. “Let’s focus on what needs changing and I hope this video informs you on the things that go on behind the scenes of the headlines and flashing lights. Dont worry I’ll always find a way to smile 😉 leggo 16 ♡.”

Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on the hit Netflix series, commented on his costar’s post, writing, “happy bday millie this year is gonna be your year. AGAIN. here’s to 16 years old!”

Bella Hadid also commented, writing, “I love you Millie, happy birthday baby girl,” while grown-ish star Yara Shahidi said, “Sending all the love to you and join you as a change maker and giver of kindness.”

Millie Bobby Brown, Margaret Qualley and More Suit Up for the 2020 SAG Awards
Getty Images

Brown, who has played Eleven on Stranger Things since she was 12, recently reflected on growing up in the spotlight while speaking to PEOPLE on the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet.

“I think I’m becoming stronger,” she said. “It’s difficult because I’m still growing.”

The actress is indeed no stranger to being publicly criticized. Last January, she was told by an Instagram troll to “act” her age after she shared a photo of herself in a fitted dress.

But Brown wasn’t having it. In a since-deleted Instagram Story, she wrote, “ik everyone on my last pic wants me to ‘act my age’ but quite frankly its my instagram and if I choose to post that picture and you don’t like it… scroll past it.”

Brown will reprise her role as Eleven in season 4 of Stranger Things. Although a premiere date has not yet been announced, a recent teaser confirmed fan theories that Hopper (David Harbour) is alive and well.

Stranger Things 4 is expected to debut on Netflix later this year.

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