Her parentage guaranteed Willow Smith instant recognizability from the time she was born. Her parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, are Hollywood actors. Her father, the more famous half of the couple, has enjoyed superstardom worldwide. However, instead of retreating in the shadows of her famous parents, Smith has carved her own niche in Hollywood. At just 10 years old, she already had a successful single, “Whip My Hair”. Music turned out to be her passion but it is just one of many artistic pursuits. At such a young age, Smith has developed into a self-aware, confident, empowered young woman.
Growing Up in Hollywood
Smith was not too keen about the fame that followed her parents. She described growing up in the public eye as, “excruciatingly terrible”. She felt that the type of environment that famous kids grow up in can have a negative effect on their mental health, which explains why many end up battling depression. According to Smith, when you are born famous, you either accept and embrace your lot completely or opt out just as completely. There is no halfway approach.
In a 2016 interview with singer Pharrell Williams, Smith said that she could see herself shunning the spotlight and living in the mountains, as a way for her to be in nature in the purest way. Her current fame, however, has given her the opportunity to give a voice to others who may not have the same platform that she has. At just 15, Smith became a brand ambassador for Chanel, saying that it was a chance to be a role model for the under-represented.
Gen Z Anxiety
Smith has always defended her generation, saying that their higher level of anxiety is borne of their access to information through online media. As a result of this connectivity, they are more aware of their surroundings and learn of the disparity between their lives and those who are marginalized.
Smith also decries gender norms, believing that these lead to severe limitations of one’s thinking and creativity. She has also refused to submit to traditional practices and approaches that are often expected by society, including marriage and children, saying that these do not allow people to reach their full potential. She credits her mom for her confident, independent thinking.
Insecurities Ruin Love
Smith has a fresh approach to love and relationships. According to her, it is best to give your partner complete freedom. For Smith, insecurities can destroy any healthy relationship, including friendships. Insecurities, after all, are the reason we act out our fears. By allowing someone to be free and avoiding holding on to them, you can enjoy a more meaningful relationship.
Empowering Other Women
When Smith appeared on Teen Vogue, she became doubly excited when she found out the photographer she would be working with was a woman. Smith declared that it was the first time she would be working with a female photographer for a major publication. Smith says that women, like people of color, are grossly underrepresented and that finding more and more of them in positions where they can take charge is refreshing and promising.
Smith’s privileges are not lost on her and she continues to use her status to extend a helping hand to others. In October 2017, the Smith family donated part of their wardrobe for the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. The proceeds from the items sold through The RealReal were in favor of hurricane relief.
Smith’s Art Through Her Music
Smith has confidently breezed through her early teens without relying on her parents’ fame. She has always tried to stay true to her own self and has expressed this best with her music. With the release of her second album, Smith has once again used her music, this time to promote self-love. In her interview with Rolling Stone, Smith reiterated the importance of devoting time to develop one’s art. According to her, being able to express what you believe in gives you confidence. When you focus on what you want, you are able to progress towards your goal, gain new skills, and become more competent. It is this cycle, Smith says, that allows her to experience different things.
Saying ‘Yes’ to Science and Logic
With her busy lifestyle, Smith’s goal to self-sufficiency away from city life will just have to wait. Right now, she is using all her energies to understand music from a different perspective – the science behind music. In her Rolling Stone interview, Smith said that she does not really have a problem with music as an art but understanding it as a form of science remains something of an unexplored territory for her. Being predominantly right-brained, she believes that it takes more time for her to become comfortable with logic. Her understanding of her art, she believes, can only improve once she is able to reconcile logic and creativity. Willow Smith, indeed, is growing up to become one of the most interesting young women in Hollywood.