Idris Elba’s daughter, Isan, may only be 17 years old, but she’s already making her mark as a 2019 Golden Globes Ambassador.
On Thursday, while attending the Golden Globes’ Ambassador luncheon in Beverly Hills, Isan brought awareness to mental illness in the African-American community during the panel discussion.
“It was only about two years ago that my mom opened up to me,” Isan shared with PEOPLE Magazine about her mother, Hanne “Kim” Norgaard, who was married to Idris from 1999 to 2003.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a struggle every day. It’s a learning lesson for me, but it’s hard. Mental health is something that’s hard to deal with. We just sat down and talked about it, and I think that was better for her, talking about it and talking about it with someone who means the most in her life and just getting that out.”
FYI: Isan’s mother battles with bipolar depression, depression, and chronic anxiety.
“It was like, ‘Woah,'” she said learning about her mother’s struggles. “It was definitely a learning curve. I’m so much closer to my mom now because I know what she’s going through.”
Inspired by her panel discussion, $50,000 was donated to the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in Isan’s name by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) president, Meher Tatna.
Opening up about her school life, Isan admits she dealt with self-esteem issues after being bullied.
“I’ve always been a quirky kid,” she shared. “I’ve had to work through that. Part of the reason I was bullied was because of my personality. Other people gravitated towards my personality — but at my school, the kids had never met someone so sporadic like me. After that, I just sort of said, ‘Whatever, I’m not going to listen to what you say.'”
She went on to add: “Being myself is what got me here. People have been telling me how much of an inspiration it is that I’m talking about this.”
As for what she says to the bullies after securing a role with the Golden Globes? “If I wasn’t me, they wouldn’t pick me.”
Facts! If you want to catch the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards, it airs Sunday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.
(Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)