How Millicent Simmonds Is Changing the World

Millicent Simmonds and the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) are a match made in heaven.

The actress, who captivated the world with her outstanding portrayals of Rose in the Todd Haynes-directed Wonderstruck and Regan in the John Krasinski-directed A Quiet Place will appear at Bentonville Film Festival’s Next Generation Summit on Wednesday, where she and WHOSAY, VP, Marketing & Creative Services, Jenna Sereni, will have a discussion about the festival’s theme of inclusion.

We sat with Millicent for an exclusive Q&A focusing on her role as influencer changing the world through her work on and off the screen. She told us what was it like to play the groundbreaking role of Regan, how and why she connects with fans on social media and how she hopes to help make kids more tolerant of other cultures.

WHOSAY: Why is it important for the media to represent characters like Regan in A Quiet Place?

Millicent Simmonds: I think a lot of people might see Regan as being at a disadvantage and I think a lot of girls probably go through the same things and feelings that Regan felt like guilt, anger and feeling left out. But I think it also made people aware and maybe empathize with her situation that maybe they didn't understand before.

WS: What was it like to use creativity to tell Regan’s story?

MS: There wasn't a lot of creativity on my end. John had a very clear picture of who Regan was and the relationships she had. But if I had an idea that I think fit her situation I would let John know how to approach it and he was always very open and welcomed all of my ideas.

WS: How do you use social media to connect with and engage with your fans?

MS: I'm not on a lot of social media. I have Instagram though and I started a YouTube channel where I teach some ASL. I started it to help teach my family and some friends that wanted to learn.

WS: Who are some of the influencers you follow and why?

MS: Nyle DiMarco is definitely someone that I admire and I follow. He started a foundation to help raise awareness about deaf kids that don't have access to sign language.

WS: What do you think about when partnering with causes or brands to create sponsored content?

MS: I think, "is this important to me and is this a message that I can support." I have partnered with USAID that has started a campaign called "Sign on for Literacy" that is trying to make Sign Language accessible for deaf kids around the world. I feel good about supporting that because I feel strongly that every deaf child have access to sign.

WS: What do you hope to achieve in the future now that you have a bigger platform?

MS: I've always wanted to travel and visit different cultures and see how other people live. I think the more kids are exposed to different cultures, the more tolerant they are of different people. And in a way that's what I'm doing with my acting, exposing people to different cultures. So I hope I can continue acting for a long time.  

Photo credit: James Lee Wall