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Amandla Stenberg Opens Up About The Pressures Of Hollywood

Amandla Stenberg Opens Up About The Pressures Of Hollywood

Amandla Stenberg shows her style on the cover of Seventeen‘s October/November issue, on stands September 25th.

Here’s what the 19-year-old actress had to share with the mag:

On body confidence: “Being in entertainment can be hard—if you were to meet actors in real life, you’d probably be surprised at how tiny they are. I’m not a hella-skinny person—I’m petite, but I’m low-key slim-thick—and I’ve had people put pressure on me to lose weight or oversexualize my body because it doesn’t look infantile. People often say my boobs are too big. There have been several moments when I was filming a scene and someone came over with a small sports bra and said, ‘Put this on real quick. Your boobs look too big on camera.’ You’re conceived of as too much if you have, like, thighs. It’s ridiculous! I try to only work in spaces now that make me feel comfortable. It’s challenging, but I’d rather be healthy and happy and love my body.”

On self-discovery and coming out twice: “Gender and sexuality are so fluid—it’s okay to change your mind a million times and figure out what works for you. 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. I realized I had so much internalized homophobia and so much discomfort around hooking up with dudes. I always knew that when I hooked up with girls, it was the happiest I’d been in any sexual dynamic. 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.”

On embracing her natural beauty: “I’ve had to unlearn a lot, and I’m still unlearning things. I hated my hair growing up—I thought it was ugly. By the time I got to high school, I was using a relaxer. But when I was 16, I chopped off all the dead hair and started wearing it natural, and I realized that it was so beautiful and cool and versatile! Anti-black beauty standards are so pervasive. Fighting that requires constant unpacking and positive self-messaging, so of course I still have my moments when I feel insecure. But in those moments, I’m always [inspired] by the fact that being black is just so poppin’. The perspective, the culture, the family, the food…I love everything about being black.”

For more from Amandla, visit Seventeen.com.

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Photos: Silja Magg
Posted to: Amandla Stenberg

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