Amandla Stenberg Covers Seventeen’s October Issue

Posted on September 20, 2018

“The Hate U Give” star Amandla Stenberg covers the October 2018 issue of Seventeen magazine photographed by Silja Magg and styled by fashion editor Yashua Simmons.

 

 

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 what made playing Starr in The Hate U Give special: “My experiences are really similar to Starr’s. I grew up in a lower-income black community [in Los Angeles], but I went to a white private school across town. I had to do this strange policing of myself to fit in: figure out what the white kids thought was cool and front a little when they talked about their vacations, houses, clothes, technology. Even if it wasn’t their intention, if you couldn’t participate in that culture, you were excluded. I also felt like there was an assumption that I was less smart, so I overcompensated in the classroom. By the end of high school, I’d figured out how to just do me.”

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.”

 

Style Credits:
Cover: Sweater by Juicy Couture | Pants by Miaou | Earrings by Adina Reyter | Necklace by Vita Fede | Sneakers by Buffalo London x Opening Ceremony
First Image: Dress by Gypsy Sport | T-shirt by Maggie Marilyn | Pants by Maggie Marilyn | Hat by Nike | Ring by Sarah Chloe | Earring (left) by Maya Brenner | Earring (right) by Wolf Circus | Sneakers by Buffalo London
Second Image: Sweatshirt by Tommy Hilfiger Collection | Pants by Maggie Marilyn | Earring by Maya Brenner | Scrunchie by Urban Outfitters

[Photo Credit: Silja Magg/Seventeen Magazine]

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