Amandla Stenberg Talks To Seventeen Magazine About Body Confidence, Sexuality And Being Natural
Amandla Stenberg has been called a lot of things by a lot of people. She’s an “intersectional feminist superstar,” “the voice of a generation,” and whom Beyoncé wants Blue Ivy to be like when she grows up. Amandla, who turns 20 in October, is all of those things—as well as an actress (in films like The Hunger Games; Everything, Everything; and The Darkest Minds); a fighter for social justice (her video “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” started a Tumblr storm about cultural appropriation in 2015); and an important voice in the conversation about gender and sexuality. Soon, she’ll take on her most meaningful—and controversial—role yet: gutsy Starr Carter in The Hate U Give (out October 19), based on Angie Thomas’s best-selling novel about a teen who witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer.
Check out some dope quotes from Amandla about her thoughts on body confidence, sexuality and more when you continue.
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.”
Don’t you think this is something many women who identify as something other than heterosexual struggle with? There’s gotta be a lot of pressure to be bi or something more acceptable right.
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Fashion Editor: Yashua Simmons
Sweater: Juicy Bouture
Earrings: Adina Reyter
Necklace: Vita Fede
Sneakers: Buffalo London x Opening Ceremony