As much as I hate to admit it, teens are pretty cool these days. And at the head of the cool teen revolution is 16-year-old actress Amandla Stenberg, who started her career as Rue in The Hunger Games in 2013. Now, Stenberg, along with her ineligible to vote squad of eloquent, sharp, and funny young friends, is making a name for herself as a radical new voice in her generation, speaking out about cultural appropriation and race relations at a crucial time. And so is her good friend Willow Smith, who, at only 14, is making waves in the music industry, while challenging stereotypes left and right. Amandla Stenberg and Willow Smith (and the rest of their cool teen girl squad) have luckily found each other in this crazy mixed up world and are putting their very smart heads together and forming a deep connection. I'm super jealous, and you should be, too.
It's tough enough being a teenager, and I can't even imagine what adolescence is like now in the Internet age — I ever sound like such an old — so it warms my heart that Smith and Stenberg have found each other, even though they making me retroactively self-conscious about myself in high school. They are great role models, and here are seven reasons their friendship will make you want to be part of their cool teen gang:
1. They're Both Super Smart & Aware
Both Stenberg and Smith had magazine cover stories recently, a huge accomplishment when you're at an age where you're barely learning to drive. And both of them shone bright, as always, proving that teenagers are just as eloquent and capable as anyone else. Smith talked about feminism and challenging the gender roles we're taught from birth in her interview with i-D Magazine, and in Dazed, Stenberg was called "the new voice of her generation." She's taken the Internet by storm, first with her video titled "Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows," and her voice is growing to larger and larger audiences — and so is Smith's. I can't even imagine what they talk about at sleepovers.
2. They Support Each Other
Smith posted this photo of Stenberg from her Dazed shoot on her own Instagram page, and captioned it, "Let's lead a revolution." Those two are a force to be reckoned with.
3. They Hang Out With Other Cool Kids
No big deal, but Smith and Stenberg are also best buds with Tavi Gevinson, the superstar teen-genius behind Rookie; Kiernan Shipka, aka Sally Draper from Mad Men; and of course, Smith's brother and equally smart and creative teen Jaden Smith. That's a squad that's going to change the world.
4. They Do Cool Stuff Together
I think the only thing better than going to an FKA Twigs concert would be going to an FKA Twigs concert and looking over and seeing Willow Smith and Amandla Stenberg there together.
5. They've Perfected Their Side-Eye
So stylish and so intimidating. That double side-eye is withering.
6. They Love Each Other's Families
Lest we forget when Amandla Stenberg and Jaden Smith wore outfits that were the sartorial equivalent of a mic drop to their prom. She wore long, beautiful grey braids, and Jaden Smith wore a skirt. Defying traditional gender roles and beauty standards at a high school dance. Too good.
7. They Have A Deep, Deep Connection
This is almost too adorable. In her interview with Dazed, Stenberg said that she met Willow Smith after the two girls started dreaming of one another. According to Dazed, "Willow messaged her, saying, 'I feel like we are supposed to be friends,' so the two met up and talked about everything they loved for a good hour. 'Then we did interpretive dance to Grimes,' says Stenberg." That's the kind of tender friendship every teenage girl needs.
Bless Smith and Stenberg and their friendship for showing young girls it's important to be yourself, love yourself, and find someone who feels the same way.