Willow Smith has grown up to be gorgeous

The world was always going to know who Willow Smith was because of her famous parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. But rather than ride on the coattails of her parents' fame, Willow wanted to create her own path. She got her start in the biz early, and at 10 years old, she released her first single, "Whip My Hair."

She has continued to pursue her musical aspirations since then, but her development has never been limited to her career. She dabbles in many artistic endeavors, explores various ways to give back, and always manages to find a way to use her platform to empower others (particularly young girls). She's supremely self aware for someone her age — it's clear that she is wise beyond her years. No matter your age, you will find something to learn from Willow Smith. Here are all the ways she has transformed from a Hollywood child to a talented and insightful young woman. 

Growing up in the spotlight is "absolutely, excruciatingly terrible"

Growing up with famous parents was not something Smith wanted, nor was it something that she found easy. She shared her thoughts on the topic in an interview with Girl Gaze (via People). "Growing up and trying to figure out your life … while people feel like they have some sort of entitlement to know what's going on, is absolutely, excruciatingly terrible — and the only way to get over it, is to go into it," she said. 

She also feels as though this toxic environment can take its toll on mental health, saying, "I feel like most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression, and the world is sitting there looking at them through their phones; laughing and making jokes and making memes at the crippling effect that this lifestyle has on the psyche." She stated that when you're born into celebrity, you only have two choices: Embrace that world completely and try to "help from the inside," or vanish from the spotlight completely. She said, "there's really no in-between."

In 10 years, she sees herself "in the mountains somewhere cooking a squirrel"

We've already established that living in the public eye has its challenges, and Smith has revealed just how much she longs to escape it. She has big plans for her future, and they don't involve being famous. Pharrell Williams chatted to Smith and her brother Jaden for Interview magazine in 2016, and when asked where the siblings see themselves in ten years, Jaden responded with "gone," a thought Willow echoed. She explained, "I feel that. I see myself in the mountains somewhere in a tent cooking a squirrel."

After going back and forth with her brother about eating squirrel (because Jaden was shocked), Smith revealed that living away from the city life and becoming at home in nature is something her heart desires. She said, "I want to retreat back to living off the land and just being in nature, experiencing life in the most pure, natural way possible."

If you don't feel beautiful, Willow has something to say to you

Whether she asked for it or not, Willow Smith's parents' fame gave her a platform, and she could either ignore it or embrace it. She chose to do the latter and has been using her voice and image as a powerful tool to inspire young women.

When Smith was 15, she was invited by French fashion house Chanel to be one of their ambassadors. It's an important role and it's one that Smith took seriously because, even back then, she understood that "It's not every day that a 15-year-old black girl with dreads gets elected to be the Chanel ambassador." She made these comments in an interview with The Telegraph and told the publication she realizes the importance of being a role model for those who are not represented by the media.

"I know a lot of girls that look like me feel that they're not beautiful and feel like they don't have a place in the media or a place in the world," she said. "I want them to know that's not true, and if you're confident and you love yourself then everything you see, your perception, will start to change and you'll see things differently. I want to show those girls that might not think they're beautiful but they are." 

Anxiety-ridden, like many others in Gen Z

Don't confuse Smith for a Millennial, because she is from Generation Z, and proud of it. This is the generation of kids who were born post-1995, and according to Huffington Post, they make up 25.9 percent of the United States population. If you've ever wondered what it was like to be part of this generation, Smith has the answers — and according to her, it has its downsides. 

In an interview with Girl Gaze (via Entertainment Tonight), she agrees with the general consensus that she and the other post-Millennials are part of the most anxious generation. Some may think this anxiety is linked to a technological obsession, but Smith notes that it's not quite as simple as that. She agrees having access to any information at any time has repercussions: "We look on our phones and we see people dying right next to us and we're sitting there about to go get a latte — it breaks you down." But she elaborates, "It's not just the phones. The phones are just a tool. The phones just heighten what was already happening."

Scoffing at gender norms: Marriage and kids? No thanks

The idea that girls should like pink and boys should like blue is outdated, and Smith chose to remind everyone of this in an interview with Refinery29. She said, "I'm a black female in the 21st century. My favorite color isn't pink; it's black." 

That's not the only thing that she feels sets her apart from the norm, and her progressive approach on this topic is refreshing. She said, "I'm not obsessed with getting married or having kids. Gender norms put people in boxes and don't allow them to really get to their full potential as a human being. Slowly but surely, dudes are starting to wear nail polish and become more in tune with their feelings. Change is happening, and it's very exciting." She credited her open-minded and out-of-the-box perspective to her mom Jada Pinkett Smith, explaining, "When she was younger, she was all about reforming the paradigms."

"Damn. I'm really a woman"

There is nothing average about 17-year-old Smith — she has a unique approach to the world. She knows this, embraces it, and made sure the world knows as well in an interview with The Fader

"I've just been doing so much growing up, I'm really just becoming a woman. Damn. I'm really a woman," she said. "Seeing how my thought processes have changed over the years and how my observations get keener. Everything is getting more clear but also I'm starting to see the spectrum of life in such a new way. It's so grey and uncomfortable and joyous. It's the first time I'm seeing life and experiencing relating to human beings in a completely different way."

As she grew into her later teen years, she told The Fader that she started to understand the difference between authenticity and image management on social media. She noted that there's often a discrepancy between the words we say ("I love you") and our actions. Although she's still a teen, Smith has spent a lot of time philosophizing about deep subjects like love and identity.

She's ridiculously wise beyond her years when it comes to love

Smith thinks a lot about love and relationships. Her approach to love is interesting as she believes in giving your partner complete and utter freedom. She explained to The Fader that letting your insecurities take over can ruin any relationship, "not only in romantic love, that's in friendships and everything." She explained how insecurities can make you act in a way that isn't out of love, but rather out of fear: "As much as we want to hold on to these people, love and relationships you have to enjoy and release." 

Smith went on to explain how holding on too tightly can harm relationships. She said, "Let things go where they need to go. Don't hold on because when you hold on you kill love." She applies this to labeling a relationship as well, explaining that "As soon as you say, 'This is mine,' or 'This is my boyfriend' or 'This is my girlfriend,' you've massacred your real relationships." How can someone so young can be so wise beyond their years?!

She was beyond excited for her Teen Vogue shoot for this one reason

When Smith turned up for an interview with Teen Vogue she did so wearing a cropped t-shirt with the statement, "Never underestimate the power of a woman." And truer words have never been written, at least in the opinion of Smith, who is passionate about women supporting each other. 

She explained that her shoot for the publication was special because it was the first time that she had been shot by a female photographer, Emma Summerton. Upon meeting each other, the publication notes how Smith reacted with excitement and stated, "This is so cool. I've never been shot by a woman before — not for anything this major! There is such a need for more female photographers, physicists, astronauts, doctors." Teen Vogue noted, unsurprisingly, that Smith's favorite topic of conversation is how the tide is turning in many spaces where young women and people of color are underrepresented.

She uses her celeb-status (and amazing wardrobe) to help others

Smith may have the privileges that most don't, but she tries to use that status to help others as much as possible. The singer and her family did their bit to help ease the suffering of others when they handed over items from their wardrobe to The RealReal back in October 2017with all proceeds donated to hurricane relief through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

According to E! News, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, along with their children Jaden and Willow, had their clothing sold on The RealReal's website — all these items appear to have been sold. As for what was on sale? Smith's contribution reportedly ranged from bomber jackets to sneakers, with pieces including her Adidas x Rita Ora Lightweight Hooded Jacket, and her Opening Ceremony Wool Varsity Jacket.

Creating music is all about confidence and self-love

Smith's last name ensured that she would never be a starving artist, but she has tried to remain true to herself with the direction she has taken her music. Her second album, The 1st, focuses on self-love; going through the process of creating this music has helped give her clarity around this idea.  

Smith explained to Rolling Stone that if someone devotes hours to their art, they are left with a sense of accomplishment once it's done. For her, this also results in confidence. Smith explained that this ends up creating a cycle of progressing toward her goal, becoming more competent in a new skill, and growing her confidence. It's a cycle she goes through with all different types of experiences, but she explains that the resulting feelings are the same. "Like for each song you go through, 'OK, I'm learning this. I'm learning this a bit more. Now, I get this.' You start to become friends with the process."

She's not too comfortable with logic and science

Smith's long term goal may be to become self-sufficient and live away from civilization but there's a more immediate ambition which she wants to achieve first: exploring her understanding of music through a completely different perspective. 

"I want to rocket my knowledge and intelligence about specifically the science of music," Smith told Rolling Stone in a 2017 interview. The art of music is something Smith feels she totally gets, but the science behind music is a completely different story — it's not an area where she feels totally comfortable. "I'm such a right-brained person that coming at me with logic rooted in creativity takes time for me to get comfortable with that and understand the logistics of my creativity."