Clint Eastwood. Photo credit: Denis Makarenko /

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
Roy T. Bennett

While pursuing their creative aspirations in the entertainment industry, performers must face endless challenges head-on. Along every step of the way, valuable lessons are learned— sometimes through personal experience, and other times, through the observations and advice of others. Over the years, various celebrated stage and screen actors have been asked to reflect upon the advice they wish they could give to their younger selves. Here are their responses:

Phoebe Dynevor

The “Bridgerton” star shared, “My advice to my younger self would be not to worry too much about the things that don’t make you feel good, whether that’s people, things that you’re not so good at—anything, really. Just focus on the things that make you happy, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Daveed Diggs

The “Hamilton” star told the Chicago Tribune, “The advice I would give my younger self is to stop stressing so much about the timeline. Whatever this thing is that’s happened to me in the last few years—if that happened any time before that, I don’t think I would’ve been ready for it. It’s been very challenging in a lot of ways.”

Brie Larson

The “Short Term 12” actress shared on “Brie Is Online!,” “The advice I would give my younger self is that you do not have to earn your right to speak. It is your God-given right.”

James Monroe Iglehart

The Tony Award-winning actor was asked what advice he would give his younger self. He replied, “You know what? To be honest, I would tell him to stop complaining and to study harder. Because I did not study as hard as I could have, I went through some hills and valleys I probably wouldn’t have had to.”

Camilla Luddington

The “Grey’s Anatomy” actress would advise her younger self to “Trust your own instincts. I think that I spent a lot of time and energy worrying about other people’s opinions, about what I should be doing or the direction I should be going in. And when I finally let go of that, it was very freeing.”

Antonio Banderas

The “Uncharted” actor told Mindfood, “In your 20s, you want to be ‘the man,’ but now that I’m 54, I’m told that in some ways I have a kid’s mind. And I like that. So I would tell myself not to be in such a hurry to grow up.”

Melissa Gilbert

The “Little House on the Prairie” icon told Oprah Winfrey: “There is absolutely no advice that I could have given my younger self that I would have listened to when I was younger. I was surrounded by all the grace and wisdom in the world, and I was just like, ‘No, I got this’—which I think is maybe the definition of youth. But if I were to have listened, I would have said, ‘Avoid romantic entanglements in your youth and focus on yourself.’”

Amber Gray

The “Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812” actress said, “A piece of advice that I got when I was really young that I didn’t understand, but I think is so dead-on is, ‘If you stay in line, you will get served.’ Just keep showing up, keep getting trained, keep working on your craft and getting better. That all pays off eventually.”

Clint Eastwood

“The Mule” actor shared, “The young Clint Eastwood was never a smart kid. I was a slow learner, so I would tell myself if I could: Speed up the process a little bit more. And practice, practice, practice.”

Jennifer Lopez

The “Marry Me” star said, “I’d tell myself to love myself because when we love ourselves, we make good choices. When we don’t, we are not focused and we make bad choices. I learned that lesson the hard way.”

Monique Coleman

The “Gimme Mo” actress would tell her younger self, “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Have courage. Speak up. Tell the truth. Honor your feelings. Honor your body. Value relationships over things. Get out of your head. Get out of the mirror. Give back. Know that you are worthy of great things. Vulnerability is your superpower. Let people see who you really are. Learn to love your flaws. Stop comparing yourself to others. Trust yourself. Trust your light. Know that everything is happening for you—nothing is happening to you. Above all, always be grateful. As long as there is breath in your lungs, there’s so much to be thankful for. Slow down. Breathe. When life gets hard, which it sometimes does, remind yourself, ‘This too shall pass.’”

Brandon Uranowitz

The three-time Tony Award nominee would advise his younger self: “Don’t be so… hard on yourself all the time. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Everything will be fine; just go at your own pace and be yourself. You can’t do what they do, and they can’t do what you do, so why waste the time and the energy?” 

Reese Witherspoon

The Emmy-winning actress would tell herself: “No one is coming to save you, and you will have to save yourself. And also that no relationship, no child, mother or father are going to fix your problems.”