We’ve talked in the last six months about celebrities who stand out because they’ve used their platforms to make powerful statements.
They’re our Lola winners . . .
Like Kylie Bisutti, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel, who now speaks to your generation about modesty and purity.
And Colton Dixon, who used his American Idol platform to speak openly about faith and to admit when he’d made a mistake.
Lolo Jones who taught us a lot about how important it is to remain true to your values, even when the world mocks you.
Kate Winslet who challenged magazines on how they portray women and beauty.
Brad and Kimberly Paisley who showed us that celebrity marriages can work when the couple is committed to staying together.
Robin Roberts who stands tall in the face of illness and teaches us about the need for bone marrow donations to save lives.
But what about the celebrities who make more subtle statements? The ones who seem normal because they hold fast to their privacy? That’s heroic, too, right? They’re gracious to their fans but serious about the line they don’t want crossed. They’re the ones who don’t give interviews often and who absolutely refuse to air their dirty laundry in public.
A few that come to mind are—Reese Witherspoon, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, Rowan Atkinson, Clint Eastwood, Hayden Panettiere, and Matt Damon. They treat acting as a job. Period.
But there have always been the celebrities who craved the attention.
Because I went to high school in the eighties, I have a lingering fascination with the Brat Pack (Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy) and those who floated around them.
They were young and beautiful and most of them had no formal training as actors. Several of them made it into the business because of famous family members and some were just in the right place when John Hughes started casting for his movies.
A few of them behaved, well, like brats and paved the road for the stars you know today. Those who became famous young and now live from one public cringe-worthy moment to the next, like—
Lindsay Lohan . . .
Matthew McConaughey . . .
Miley Cyrus . . .
Britney Spears . . .
But one 1980s star with ties to the Brat Pack didn’t quite fit in with the rest—Molly Ringwald. I loved her then and always felt like we should be friends.
This month’s column got me wondering about how Molly had held up. Was she a star who’d paid the price of early fame, fallen into addiction and failed rehab multiple times? Did she wreck some marriages and slide off every director’s list as an actor worthy of casting?
Or would I be able to say to Molly (in Duckie’s words from Pretty in Pink) “May I admire you again today?”
I found that I like her today as much as I did in the 1980s and for that, Molly Ringwald wins
When you dig a little on Molly Ringwald you find that she’s just as great as you wanted her to be. She’s smart and funny and self-aware and wants to keep her private life private. Oh, I like her. I still want her to be my best friend.
- Image via salon.com
She released her first book and, surprise!, she wrote it herself. There was no ghost writer involved. Cause she’s smart. It’s called When it Happens to You and it’s a novel in stories.
Molly is often quoted about her time in the 1980s and she says she never felt comfortable in the public eye. When asked to compare her experience with the experiences of today’s stars, she said, “I didn’t have parents who were, you know, racing to get a reality television show, you know? Or looking to benefit in some way from their daughter’s fame.”
She has three children now and she’s given a lot of thought to what she would do if one of them wanted to be an actor. In a recent interview in The Washington Post, Molly told reporter Jen Chaney this:
“It was dangerous when I was coming up, but it’s a whole different thing now … because you’re exposing your family and your significant others to this scrutiny. My daughter asks me every day if she can be an actress, and it’s something that we’re really struggling with, because I don’t — because when she says she wants to be an actress, I don’t really think that she wants to be an actress, I think she wants to be a celebrity.”
Molly sees a huge difference between being a celebrity in the 1980s and being one today—a difference created by intrusive technology.
“This new generation — I sound, like, so old, ‘this new generation’ [laughter] — it’s really Big Brother, but it’s something we seem to want. We want that kind of transparency, and it’s something that I’ve always tried to protect myself [from] or at least find an easy kind of balance. But I don’t think that kids growing up see that as a negative at all. They don’t understand that privacy is something that they can and should control.”
In today’s out-of-control worship of celebrities, Molly Ringwald is keeping it real. In fact, she’s always kept it real. Thank goodness.
How about you? Are there celebrities who are a breath of fresh air for you because they don’t want the spotlight? Are there actors who seem to carry that unmistakable sense of gratitude or sincerity?
I want names!