Well Being

Winona Ryder’s Wisdom About Beauty & Aging Is Exactly On Point

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Thanks for being awesome, Winona.

Winona Ryder’s character in Beetle Juice was my heroine. As a teenager with black hair and pale skin, I was convinced that I was “different.” I sat home listening to The Cure, painting my nails black and having seances with my friends. Obviously I was misunderstood (sarcasm), but Lydia Deetz comforted me. It was totally OK to be different. And, in a way, Winona has continued the tradition of inspiring me a decade later.

Winona, who has had some hard times of her own, is super articulate, extremely down-to-earth and beautifully insightful, told Interview Magazine that she was once told she was too ugly to act—mid-audition—by a casting director. She was too “different.” She explained:

Listen, kid. You should not be an actress. You are not pretty enough. You should go back to wherever you came from and you should go to school. You don’t have it.

Ugh. But Winona gives credit to the way she was raised:

“They had always instilled in me that it was way cooler to be an individual and to be unique and that you don’t want to blend in. So I was lucky in the sense that, for a lot of girls, I think that would’ve just crushed them.”

Winona didn’t complain whatsoever about not being perceived as “pretty”, nor did she give credence to the whole idea. This is so key and almost impossible in many cases, but it’s sound advice: it is good to be different. It is good to have your own look.

I know I constantly get caught up in the way I should look. Plenty of people do. It’s a hard world out there, and it can be crushing. But I have to say, hearing this, and seeing how successful she is, is inspiring. The scary thing to me is that in Hollywood, Winona Ryder isn’t always considered pretty—according to her experiences. What, then, counts, as pretty? Winona Ryder is a beautiful human.

The world we know as non-famous individuals is difficult and judgemental enough, so I can’t even imagine living in Hollywood, where “beauty”—as a concept—is so defined and so important and so critiqued. To me, it sounds like a scary cult. I commend the women and men who are surviving—and thriving—in Hollywood.

Winona spoke out about aging—and the backwards sorts of responses she gets:

People don’t want you to get older, but then it’s like, “Why do you look young?” It’s funny, because I went straight from the Interview shoot to this premiere, and I still had on all the makeup, and my friend told me that some people were literally saying that I’d had work done—which, by the way, I’ve found is like normal hygiene now on sets. I’m not trying to knock it, but, you know, I have a little bit of traffic now on my forehead—which I’m like very proud of actually—and it’s interesting how people just instinctively are like, “Oh, maybe you should get something done for that.” And it’s like, “Really?” So I’m excited about this new phase…..So I’m flattered that someone thought I looked nice at the premiere, but I just want to remember to be present and to have that sort of thoughtfulness about what I’m doing.

I love you, Winona.

Photo: C.Smith/ WENN.com