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I first discovered a kindred spirit in actress Evan Rachel Wood when I was thirteen. Well, vis-a-vis the small screen — and it was more than appropriate, as I recognized it while watching her in Thirteen. It was her breakout role, alongside Nikki Reed, and I found something utterly riveting about her bright blue eyes and teenage anger from the start.

Fast forward to today, a time when I find the actress, writer, and activist no less riveting, though of course neither of us are teenagers any longer — and the world has changed unrecognizably and irrevocably since the film's 2003 release.

Evan has been through so much since her days as a child star. And yet somehow, she's risen through it all with a grace not many can claim. She regularly exudes that grace, along with an elegant and reserved courage through her outspokenness and activism, as a survivor of abuse and sexual assault, and as a truly incandescent and inspirational human being. We would all do well to take a page out of her book. Read on to see why.

Editor's note: Some may be triggered by parts of the following piece. Please proceed carefully.
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