After all that Uzo Aduba has achieved both personally and professionally, what advice would she give her 18-year-old self?
The Orange Is the New Black star appears in a video for Teen Vogue in which she shares, “You are 18 years old and you’re getting ready to embark on the greatest journey of your life. This is what I want you to know ….”
Now 35, Aduba dishes out frank advice for her younger self when it comes to love and relationships: “Set your bar high.”
“Don’t climb down from where your bar is set,” she says. “Demand the respect, love, care, honor, queendom that you were given and born into this world deserving. Second thing, don’t be afraid to love. Love is beautiful thing. Love is a freeing thing, and you should always, always, always dare to open you heart and step into it.”
“If I could tell you something about heartbreak, it’s going to hurt,” she continues. “But I think that’s the risk we have to take to reach the side of greatness and that’s where love lives. It’s going to challenge you and test you … and even though you felt it, dare to love again.”
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Aduba adds that, although guys make excellent friends, always be sure to have females in your corner.
“Having a female support next to you and a female strength next to you is going to encourage you to be a better person,” she said. “It’s going to empower and uplift you. It’s going to inspire you and it’s going to create an aspirational environment for you. That is what women do for women.”
She also addressed the importance of having close friendships: “Do not throw away a good friend. Hold onto those people, because you are going to lean on them on the best of days, the hardest of days and saddest of days.”
She also counsels her younger self to always know her worth – even when it’s challenged.
“This is when you started to realize your worth and your value and that you are valued and that you are loved,” she says. “I am going to encourage you to never lose sight of that. To always know your worth and stand firm in that. Some people are going to try and challenge that … but you know who are and there’s nothing wrong with knowing who you are. It doesn’t matter.”
“I love you so much,” she concludes. “I am so excited for you. See you in a few. Well, no. We will always be chasing each other. You know what I mean – call me, girl!”
Orange Is the New Black is currently streaming on Netflix.