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Dylan Farrow’s advice to her younger self: ‘Be brazenly authentic’

June 23, 2021, 9:39 PM UTC

Dylan Farrow has spent much of her three-decade-plus life reliving the past.

But at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women NextGen virtual conference on Wednesday, Farrow, an activist and author, shared what advice she would give her younger self having the benefit of those years.

“I feel like I have a bunch of younger selves,” Farrow said. “Looking back on my life, I was very focused on what people think of me and that sort of drove me to not be as authentic in myself, in my skin, and in my life as I would have liked to have been.”

Now Farrow says “I would encourage my younger self to be brazenly authentic.”

Farrow hasn’t had an ordinary childhood. In 2014, Farrow wrote an open letter in the New York Times alleging that her adoptive father, Woody Allen, had sexually abused her as a child. This year, Farrow participated in the HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow, which explored those allegations in depth through archival research and interviews with 1990s investigators and multiple members of Farrow’s family. Allen, who did not participate in the documentary, has always denied the allegations, stating to CBS News’s Lee Cowan in an interview, which was filmed in 2020 but aired earlier this year, that “It’s so preposterous and yet the smear has remained and they still prefer to cling to if not the notion that I molested Dylan, then the possibility that I molested her. Nothing that I ever did with Dylan in my life could be misconstrued as that.”

Allen has never been charged for the allegations—a decision the documentary explores. In 1993, Connecticut state attorney Frank Maco said there was “probable cause” to prosecute Allen, but wanted to protect Farrow from having to testify in court; he reflects on that choice in the series. Allen’s sister Letty Aronson issued a statement attributed to a spokesperson on behalf of Allen and his wife, Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, calling the docuseries a “hatchet job,” and the allegations “categorically false.”

Through the experience of participating in the docuseries, Farrow says she’s also taken an intentional approach with parenting her own daughter.

Farrow said that she dealt with postpartum depression after giving birth, and “during that time, I made a very conscious decision to not let issues with my mental health affect how present I am in my relationship with my daughter,” she said. “I’ve developed, I guess, the skill set to kind of push that away while I need to be present with her.”

Farrow added: “I kind of implemented that when the documentary was coming out. I kind of had to batten down the hatches mentally, and just be very present … and mindful of when things got overwhelming.”

Farrow is now an author, having penned a fantasy novel last year, Hush, with another one on the way due to come out in 2022.

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