Dropping Gems: 10 Pieces Of Celeb Advice To Their Younger Selves That Just Might Help You Too

September 14, 2017  |  
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Surely by now you’ve noticed that there is a new– or not so new trend when it comes to celebrity interviews. Instead of asking them about their current projects and what’s coming next for them, how about we take way back, back into time, before they were famous, household names. All types of publications have been asking celebrities to either write letters to or share advice with their younger selves. The strategy has been so often employed because not only does it show that celebrities face all of the same issues we do, the advice they give to their younger selves can help us along our journey as well.


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Jada Pinkett Smith

During a panel at Essence Festival, promoting the would-be-record-breaking film that is Girls Trip, Jada Pinkett Smith shared some advice for her 15-year-old self.

“At 15 years old it was rough, and I brought a lot of pain out of my childhood into my adulthood that I’m just now dissolving,” she said. “That pain held me back and I wish I had known then that pain is just a part of your journey and it’s not because you’ve done something wrong or because you’re cursed or you’re a bad person, we’re all going through it. We all have pain, we all have a story. And, so, all we need to do is support each other through it and I wish I had known that, ‘Jada, it’s just a part of it, baby. It’s going to be okay.’”


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Viola Davis

Viola Davis drops gems almost every time she opens her mouth to speak as herself. And so this interview with In Style was no different.

 “My go-to saying is that a privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I would tell my younger self exactly that—you are absolutely perfect the way you are,”


Michelle Obama

Back in 2014, when we slept well at night, knowing that she and her husband were in the White House, Michelle Obama spoke to People about the things she would say to her younger self.

“If I could give my younger self just one piece of advice, it would be this: Stop being so afraid! That’s really what strikes me when I look back – the sheer amount of time I spent tangled up in fears and doubts that were entirely of my own creation. I was afraid of not knowing the answer in class and looking stupid, or worried about what some boy thought of me, or wondering whether the other girls liked my clothes or my hair, or angsting about some offhand comment someone made to me in the lunchroom. I would love to go back in time and tell my younger self, “Michelle, these middle and high school years are just a tiny blip in your life, and all the slights and embarrassments and heartaches, all those times you got that one question wrong on that test – none of that is important in the scheme of things.”

You can read the full letter here.



Solange recently wrote a letter that left quite the mark. It was published in Teen Vogue. You can read a piece of it here:

“at the time, you are searching. seeking in every corner and pocket of the world for who you are. take your time, baby girl. there’s no rush to get there. you will sow each of these chapters in the land that you become. you will see bits and pieces of them scattered into the skin you grow into. you don’t have to figure everything out now. time will reveal itself. i promise you.

sometimes you push these phases to the max, and when you go out into the world feeling confident in who you are and what you reflect, young folks will call you names and grown folks will call you names. It’s ok. one day you will name yourself, and that name will belong to you. it will not be the ones they ordained: “crazy, ugly, attention-seeking, weirdo.”

And the full thing here.


Octavia Spencer

In a letter to herself for Oprah.com, Octavia wrote:

Hello Traveler,

As you make your way along life’s tumultuous highways, it’s important to note that you should always carry a map, have plenty of fuel in the tank, and take frequent rest stops.

—Octavia Spencer


Marian Edelman

The famed and longtime children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman wrote for Oprah.com,

Dear Marian,

If you don’t like the world the way it is, change it—one step at a time. Be prepared for how long change might take and how hard it will sometimes be. Always remember the quote you wrote in your diary after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak: “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”

—Marian Wright Edelman, 72


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Also, for Oprah.com, Whoopi kept it short, writing:

Dear Whoopi,

Stay out of your own way.

—Whoopi Goldberg, 56


Image via Getty

Gabrielle Union

In a letter to her younger self, published in Ebony Magazine, Gabrielle Union wrote:

“Don’t let that pesky low self-esteem creep in and fool you into believing that you don’t have value…don’t allow it to crush your will or dampen your spirit…Never worry about LOVE….real love will find you….an incredible love with an incredible man….there is a beautiful rainbow at the end of your storm.

Don’t let other people’s needs, wants, desires, fantasies, hopes or dreams dictate your choices and decisions. Follow your own path, and don’t worry that you’re being selfish or disloyal.”



You already know Oprah has her own sh*t, so obviously her letter was published on her own site. You can read a bit of it here.

You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be. You will have to learn that the wounds of your past—rape, molestation, whippings for “stepping out of place,” and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterward—damaged your self-esteem. Yet through it all, you’ve held on to a belief in God and God’s belief in you.

That will be your single greatest gift: knowing there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that Force to guide you.

You can read the full thing, here.


Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington had quite a bit to say to her 18-year-old self. She wrote it and read it for Teen Vogue. 

“The things that challenge you the most in life are probably going to be the things that you look back on and are so grateful for because they made you better. So, the things that challenge you, try to be grateful for them and try to imagine how they have been put in your life specifically to help you.”

You can listen to Kerry read her entire letter aloud in the video below.

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