CHASE SUI WONDER The Detroit-born Harvard graduate, writer-director, and actress is best known for her role as Riley in the HBO Max series Generation and starring in A24’s horror-comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies. She will soon be seen as a lead in the crime drama City on Fire from Apple TV+. Here, she takes time out to thoughtfully and considerately answer our teen reader’s question about self-esteem. Advice we could all heed, at any age.
Start with the little things: Make your bed, brush your hair, take your time putting on clothes that you like – clothes that actually make you feel good. Those are the kinds of little actions that form positive habits that will serve you throughout your lifespan.
Once you get the groundwork down, you realize your confidence levels are about more than just eating nourishing food, moving your body and taking time to rest. Self-esteem boils down to getting to know yourself… It’s about discovering what makes you truly happy; what sparks joy in you. Build those joys into your life. Be around friends you connect with on a deep level, and if you haven’t really found “your people” yet, that’s okay. I certainly hadn’t at 15. Just know you’ll encounter so many people in life — ones that will challenge you, inspire you, and speak the same language as you. For now, hug your parents. Get to know them because before you know it, you’ll be out in the real world, navigating strange waters, and all those long meandering stories they told you about the trials of their 20s will serve you and give you strength.
One last thing. DELETE your social media. For a week, or a day, or even just an hour. Not to sound like an old-timer, but when I was 15 I didn’t have someone else’s sensationalized life/picture/story to compare myself to. I was egging stop signs and prank-calling my teachers. That’s not to say I didn’t have my moments of low self-esteem and loneliness. I did have all those things, but maybe I had a bit more time to feel them, without social media as a distraction. Allow yourself to sit in your emotions. It’s all part of the process of getting to know yourself. I wish I was 15 again.