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The Real Reason Amandla Stenberg Came Out Twice
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The Real Reason Amandla Stenberg Came Out Twice

Celebrity News

Amandla Stenberg has come a long way since first making her mark as the beloved District 11 tribute Rue in the Hunger Games series. Amandla has gone to star in films like Everything, Everything, Darkest Minds, and the forthcoming adaptation of Angie Thomas's best-selling novel The Hate U Give (premiering October 19). Witnessing her growth as an actress and an activist has been endearing, but so has watching her walk into her truth as a woman. Constantly evolving. Always unapologetically. Sexuality and all. She made headlines earlier this year when she came out to the world as gay, after revealing years prior that she was bisexual.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old recently graced the October/November cover for Seventeen magazine and talked owning her beauty, sexuality, and the truth behind her deciding to come out twice.

SILJA MAGG/SEVENTEEN

Back in 2016, Amandla, who was quickly becoming a symbol of young activism, came out as "a black, bisexual woman" during a Teen Vogue Snapchat conversation. Fast-forward to this year, she came out as simply and completely gay. She and her girlfriend singer King Princess made their red carpet debut at this year's VMAs. In her Seventeen cover story, she noted that gender and sexuality are fluid, noting that there are allowed to be gray areas in the attempt to make sexuality and sexual orientation a black and white conversation:

"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."

The beautiful thing about life is that you don't have to fit into a box if you don't want to. You are allowed to decide who you are by yourself and for yourself. And when you live your life in your truth, you live life for yourself and you move through the world in such a way that aligns with that. For Amandla, that means being open about her pride for her queerness, but also leaving tables where she is no longer being served. Body confidence is a thing and these days, Amandla refuses to let anyone make her feel bad for being herself. That extends to casting directors.

DFree / Shutterstock.com

"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."

A large part of her embracing her curves and her lowkey slim thick status is about learning to love the skin that she is. The "woke" activist is vocal about her love for her blackness and pushing the culture forward by being a voice for our generation by way of offering support to Black Lives Matter and the like. For her, to experience true self-love and and learn to embrace her beauty and the features that embodied her black identity, it meant and still means unlearning what she had been taught:

"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."

Check out more snippets from the feature story here. The October/November issue debuts on newsstands on September 25.

Featured image by DFree / Shutterstock.com

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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