Here at HGN, we’re in awe of Amandla Stenberg. The Rue actress, apart from recently having been named Feminist Celebrity of the Year, continues to use her voice for issues deeply personal to her without backing down.
Now, she graces the cover of Teen Vogue‘s upcoming February issue. She talks to Solange Knowles about girl power, race, hair, her comic book and lots more.
Check out an excerpt below:
ON THE COMIC BOOK
SOLANGE: So what’s the deal with your comic book, Niobe: She Is Life? It’s sitting right here. It looks incredible.
AMANDLA: Thank you! Growing up, I was always super into fantasy and The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and all of that, but I could never find black characters whom I really liked. And so immediately I identified with Niobe, the lead character. She’s this rad black girl elf. It’s interesting because it is fantasy, but it’s also really kind of self-reflective. She’s finding her faith and finding her identity. And she’s going to keep growing until she becomes this warrior destined to unite the human world and the elf world. I think it’s officially the first comic book to be written by a black girl, starring a black girl [Niobe Ayutami], and illustrated by a black girl [Ashley A. Woods].
ON GIRL POWER
SOLANGE: What things do you do to just shut off your brain and let go of all of the intellect and spirituality and yada, yada, yada? For me, I am on Shopbop or watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta or trolling Snapchat videos of me dancing around, which all my friends are so annoyed by…. [Laughs]
AMANDLA: Oh, my God. I take a lot of really dumb Snapchat videos, too! Really bad, like double-chin selfies. Or I am in my bed watching Leonardo DiCaprio in ’90s movies, because I have an obsession with him right now. I also love going to really crappy diners with my friends just to get pancakes and drink sh*tty coffee at, like, midnight. We do that all the time.
SOLANGE: Speaking of friends, you are basically living squad goals. You’re close with Kiernan Shipka, Willow Smith, Tavi Gevinson, Lorde….
AMANDLA:Oh, man. Well, Kiernan has been by my side since the beginning. Willow is amazing. I feel like we were just meant to be friends. We were kind of vibing off each other from afar, and then she hit me up and was like, “Let’s hang out!” She has the most magnetic, radiant energy ever. Whenever we hang out we just laugh and we sing and we dance and we go hiking. And then Tavi — I was the biggest Rookie fan since forever. I checked it daily, hourly. Then Rookie asked me to do an interview, and now Tavi is one of my closest friends. We talk about everything and bounce ideas off each other; I send her some of my scripts, and she sends them back. I have a friend who has this thing called “shine theory,” which basically says that when you become friends with other powerful, like-minded people, you all just shine brighter.
Read full feature, including a video series and photoshoot, here.
Amandla also announced she’s bisexual via Snapchat. Read more on that here.