Victoria Pedretti Opened up About Having ADD; ‘If I Had Listened To People, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am’

With three of the biggest Netflix original releases on her resume, Victoria Pedretti is truly on an upward trajectory in her career. The Haunting of Bly Manor is still in the top 10 on Netflix and it was one of the most rigorous shoots for Pedretti, she told Glamour UK

In this season, there’s a lot to think about regarding labels and what does and doesn’t define someone. And for Pedretti, she was diagnosed with ADD at a young age and fought what she was told about herself. 

Victoria Pedretti said that labels can be ‘very damaging’ while talking about her ADD diagnosis

Victoria Pedretti at the Netflix & Chills panel during New York Comic Con 2018 on Oct. 5, 2018.
Victoria Pedretti at the Netflix & Chills panel during New York Comic Con 2018 on Oct. 5, 2018 | Noam Galai/Getty Images for New York Comic Con

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In the new interview, Pedretti shared that she was diagnosed with ADD at six or seven years old. She’s shared she has ADD before, like when she spoke with Bustle in early October, saying how she wanted to be “open and proud about that.” But she now touched on how that label was “very damaging” for her. Depending on said label, they can divide and “create isolation.” Sometimes labels “suggest a community” but for Pedretti, the ADD label “did not suit” her.  

Pedretti said that at the time of her diagnosis, she was told all these statistics about how she “might not ever be able to read and write well” or have a higher rate of medical problems and other issues. “I just looked at that label and I was like, ‘No, that’s not me!’” she said. 

And again, the ADD label placed on her didn’t help with the negative aspects of the condition. 

“But it was so damaging to me at that age because it didn’t do anything for how I defined myself,” Pedretti said. “It only allowed other people to make assumptions and feel like they had the answers to something far more complex than ADD.”

Pedretti only recently found empowerment through her ADD 

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Throughout the interview, which is also in video form on YouTube, Pedretti shared how tough it was for her. But she said that, just like how she didn’t let the ADD label define her, she didn’t let the negative things told to her do that as well. 

“I even think about the ADD thing… if I had listened to people I wouldn’t be where I am,” Pedretti said. “If I had thought of it as a deficit, I wouldn’t be here. I feel so strongly that I want to be a voice within that community…”

Pedretti did say that, along with no longer being in “academia” and finding a place in her chosen career, she now found empowerment. 

“I think I always questioned that [ADD] would be the thing that just f*cked me up because people weren’t particularly accommodating or understanding about it,” she said. “People tried to tell me about my own brain and my own mind, my entire life. I think that that’s really destructive, but now I can see it.”

The reason she wants to speak out about it more is that she wants others who might be having a hard time to hear her story.

“I need other young people that are struggling in school, or struggling with their emotions and their feelings, to know that it’s f*cking normal, that they’re not deficient or defective,” Pedretti said. “I wish the educational system in this country catered to more people and that I had more teachers that had the tools to understand and help me.”

Pedretti doesn’t ‘play labels’ and wants to show that labels don’t define someone 

Victoria Pedretti at the Netflix FYSEE Event for "Haunting of Hill House" on May 21, 2019.
Victoria Pedretti at the Netflix FYSEE Event for “Haunting of Hill House” on May 21, 2019 | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Pedretti said shows like Euphoria do a great job of clearly showcasing how someone might have a label (Rue has ADHD in the show) but they aren’t that thing. And she hopes to do the same with her roles. 

“It’s so great being an actor because I don’t play labels. I play people and that’s the goal,” Pedretti said. “You can either uphold all these assumptions, labels, and stereotypes, or you can do things that divert them. I think my show does a pretty good job of bending those things, making us question, and just seeing things differently, I hope.”

Interviewer Josh Smith said that sometimes labels can feel exhausting, or maybe make one wonder if they are too much of a defining factor for one person. Like how Dani Clayton, Pedretti’s character in The Haunting of Bly Manor is gay, but that’s not who she is. And Pedretti agreed. 

“So often [labels] serve other people. They give other people the option to be like, ‘Oh, now I know what you are,’” Pedretti said.

She noted that’s why she felt she couldn’t “claim ADD” before because of the stigma or notions surrounding it.

“It’s still not a defining factor. I’m still not going to tell people that in a conversation,” Pedretti said. “But I think it’s valuable to talk about it in interviews. I know it doesn’t define me. I think it’s so valuable to be able to look into yourself and not be like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ But just be like, ‘What is me?’”

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