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They’re only 18 years old, but Amandla Stenberg has been using their voice to create change since they won over fans as Rue in The Hunger Games.
Stenberg, who posed without a stitch of makeup in PEOPLE’s annual World’s Most Beautiful issue, believes gender “can be pretty much whatever you want it to be.”
“I tend to believe that gender as we’ve set it up in current-day society doesn’t actually exist,” the star tells PEOPLE exclusively. I’ve said before that I’m comfortable with using the pronouns ‘they’ or ‘them’ alongside ‘she’ and ‘her’ just because that’s a conversation that’s important to me.”
“I don’t necessarily always prescribe to female pronouns just because I don’t think that pronouns are necessarily very meaningful,” the star of the upcoming film Everything, Everything says.
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By opening up about their own journey, the star hopes to “show people who follow what I’m doing that you don’t really have to conform to those constructs in order to be valid or be worth something,” says Stenberg. “It’s been such a blessing to watch people who care about what I have to say feel more comfortable in their identities because they see I’m out here doing my thing.”