Transformations Of Beautiful Stars From The '90s
By | June 4, 2021
Alicia Silverstone on the set of ‘Clueless,' 1995
Take a close look at the following celebrities from the 1990s. Do you remember their faces and films? Do you remember where you were when you first became aware of them? Seeing how much they've changed (and stayed the same) in the decades since they first became known entities will make you feel like you're catching up with a long lost friend.
These rare photos show that even when people change they become more of themselves. While there's plenty of stories about these celebrities out in the world, you won't find these untold anecdotes anywhere else.
It's thrilling to see that so many of our most beloved stars are still making things happen. Here, you'll read their true stories for the first time. Look deeper into the stories of these celebrities form the '90s and see just how much they've changed.
Alicia Silverstone was only 19 years old when she starred as Cher Horowitz in Clueless, a film that created the rubric for every teen movie that followed from the '90s and beyond. When Clueless was being filmed no one expected it to become a cultural touchstone. It was just a teen movie starring real teens.
When Clueless was released in theaters its success was a blessing and a curse for its stars, especially Silverstone. She says that the sudden thrust into the spotlight was isolating, it made her shy away from her friends and the press. Thankfully, Silverstone didn't hide forever.
Arnold Schwarzenegger spent hundreds of hours in the makeup chair for 'Terminator 2'
We're all in agreement that Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the best action movie of the '90s, right? There's really nothing like watching Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron spend the GDP of a small country on explosions and motorcycle chases. On top of the rad action the cybernetic special effects make the strongman from Austria look like he's a real deal machine.
While speaking with Empire Magazine, make-up artist Jeff Dawn explained that the makeup process for this sequel was so arduous because he wanted audiences to get a huge bang for their buck. He said:
The audiences are more sophisticated than they were in 1984. They're more educated and have seen the way special effects are done so now they're looking for little extras that make them go, 'Wow, how do they do that?' I can't imagine anybody walking out of the theatre after seeing Terminator 2 saying, 'Well, I didn't see enough, I didn't get enough action or suspense or effects.'
Arnold remains pumped up
Long known as one of the most physically fit actors in the world, Schwarzenegger has found a way to maintain his bod well into his 70s. While speaking how he's able to keep up his look with Men's Health he explained that his trick is to keep a routine. Well, a routine that has a bunch of cardio mixed in.
Schwarzenegger explained that his routine starts first thing in the morning and lasts until he goes to bed:
Part of my routine is to wake up in the morning at 5 o'clock, then I make my coffee, I feed the animals, I go and read the paper, go through my iPad... If it's a part of the routine I don't even think about that. I have my bike already mounted on the back of my car, drive down, take it off, and ride the bike... then I go to the gym for 45 minutes to an hour, that's also routine... What's also routine is at night, I do some extra cardiovascular work before I have dinner... The idea is to burn enough calories so that when I eat dinner, which is very minimal, that I don't have to really worry about calories or gaining weight, because the older you get, the faster you gain weight, the more the body picks up, because your metabolism slows, you have to be very careful.
Blue but not sad, Gwen Stefani on the red carpet at the MTV Music Video Awards, 1998
In the '90s Gwen Stefani was easily the coolest woman in rock on the planet. Aside from blue hair and radical style, Stefani made stadiums full of fans throw down in the pit as well as any frontman for bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. By the end of the millenium, Stefani was the north star of both rock and fashion.
This shot was taken on the red carpet at the 1998 VMAs. For just over a decade this party wasn't just a way for stars to get another award, it was the place where the over the top style of the '90s was dictated to middle America. Thanks to Stefani wild hair colors, bindis, and black bracelets became the norm.
Today, Stefani realizes that she holds an important place in pop culture history. Not only is she the singer of one of the biggest ska crossover bands of all time, but she's the host of one of the most watched shows on television. It's hard to wrap your head around that concept.
While speaking with Stereogum about how much has changed since the '90s, she noted that the relationship that her kids have with music is so much different than the one she had when she was their age:
I feel like I’m learning indie music through my son. He already went through 'I’m into Green Day,' and I was like 'I toured with all those bands.'It was weird to see him discover music, and they discover it in such a different way now. You start to feel like that old 'back in my day' person. We didn’t have access to people we liked. We didn’t have conversations with Prince. I mean, I did. But the people we loved were untouchable. Now you can write to these bands and have this different access.
Danny DeVito gets a touch up for a scene in 'Batman Returns,' 1992
In the 1990s Danny DeVito was a well known character actor, but he was still a surprise in the role of the Penguin in Tim Burton's Batman Returns. The film was much darker than Burton's original film and much of that was because of Penguin's monstrous makeup job. He not only had to spend hours in the makeup chair, but he was covered in all manner of goo and muck as well.
DeVito told the Hollywood Reporter that when it came to his time in the makeup chair, he preferred to just stay in the pounds of special effects rather than get in and out of it throughout the day:
It was four-and-a-half hours of makeup and getting into the costume. We got it down to three hours by the end of the shoot. I had pounds and pounds of face prosthetics and body padding, and the prosthetic hands, which were hard to use. I kept them on about half the time.
Danny DeVito flashes the peace sign on the red carpet
In the decades since his arch turn as the Penguin, DeVito has become a producer, director, and the star of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Even though Hollywood puts a high premium the right "look" DeVito says that he doesn't really worry about it. He just keeps his head down and does his job.
While speaking with the Independent, DeVito explained his thoughts on dealing with the chaos of the entertainment industry:
It’s like going through the jungle. You hear all the sounds. Somebody’s being eaten on the other side of a plant. But you got to just stay on your path.
Danny Trejo and Antonio Banderas on the set of 'Desperado' 1994
Desperado is one of the most fun films of the '90s with its mixture of gonzo action and comedy that perfectly underline what Robert Rodriguez can do. At the heart of the film stands Antonio Banderas with his flowing black hair and super cool guitar case full of weapons. It was the perfect introduction for American audiences.
Banderas says that he has nothing but good memories of making Desperado. As this photo shows everyone was clearly having a good time on set. Banderas said:
What I remember is having a pal, a friend that I understood what [Rodriguez] wanted to do. He broke a little bit the structure of what action movies were at the time and I was very together with people who were actually creating new styles, like Quentin – Quentin actually was in the movie and we killed him!
The thinking man's hunk
Decades away from his time as the star of Desperado Antonio Banderas is still a wonderful leading man. However, he admits that aging does take away some of his ability to jump around sets like he used to do in the '90s. After suffering a heart attack in the 2010s his life changed, but for the better.
While speaking about acting as he gets older Banderas told NPR:
I had a heart attack three years ago. We are all conscious that we are going to die since we, you know, can use our reason in our brain. But when you see it very close, when you see the face of death very close to you, it change completely the meaning of your life. The priorities order change completely. And you put attentions to things that are essential and very simple. That heart attack, in a way, helped me to find myself. It's one of the best things that ever happened in my life, I have to say that.
In the 1990s there was no team that was as popular or inspiring as the Chicago Bulls. They weren't just a sports team, they were a way of life for people around the world. From '91 to '98 this team owned the basketball court; they made people want to pick up the ball and take it to the paint.
Even though they were easily the greatest team that the NBA has ever seen, that doesn't mean that the Bulls were best buddies. According to Dennis Rodman he and the rest of the Bulls played together like a well-oiled machine but they never hung out. He explained that the only time he, Jordan, and the rest of the star players had zero interaction off the court.
Rodman remains on his own wavelength
The former Bulls wild child has continued to shock people across the world with everything from his outrageous look to his time hanging out with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. On top of that, he's never stopped creating chaos everywhere he goes. While some people may think that Rodamn is crazy, the people who know him say that that's just the way he is.
When Rodman popped up in the Last Dance documentary he shed a lot of light on the subject of the '90s Bulls run, but he initially he nearly pulled out of the project. Director Jason Hehir explained to People just what he had to go through to get a legit interview out of the former player:
So he sits down... and he says, ‘I need a tuna sub from Subway and some chamomile tea.' It was like [Dave] Chappelle sending the guys for a sugar cookie in Queens. Unless you pass this test, you cannot do this interview. So we got him the tuna sub, we got him the chamomile tea, and he sat down for three hours. But that is a difficult guy to interview.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mankind relax with some Nintendo 64
It's strange to see Dwayne Johnson and to have that flash of memory stating that he hasn't always been one of the biggest movie stars of era. In the '90s he was "The Rock," one of the most popular superstars in the WWF who not only tag-teamed with Man Kind (aka Mick Foley aka Cactus Jack aka Mama Foley's baby boy). These two couldn't have been more different but that's what made them work so well together.
These two were the number one reason to tune in every Monday night, but it's clear that they need a little break sometimes. Is there anything that's more '90s than two professional wrestlers playing Nintendo 64? Maybe if they were drinking Crystal Pepsi...
The Rock n Sock Connection rides again
Even though their careers took on different trajectories. The Rock went on to be a Hollywood megastar and Mick Foley stuck close to wrestling while perfoming as a storyteller. Each guy is held in high regard in and out of the ring and they're beloved by fans across the world. It makes sense that they still care about one another even if they don't talk every day.
Before the 20 year anniversary of WWE's RAW Foley spoke about his relationship with Johnson and how it's their children that actually keep in touch:
We don’t talk on the phone, but we stay in touch through social media and an occasional text message. It was nice when my daughter and The Rock’s daughter still kept in touch. So I’ll hear a heads-up about The Rock appearing on Raw and I’ll ask my daughter how she knew, and she said she just heard it from Simone. It’s great to get together, I think we both appreciate how unique that opportunity was. Neither one of us guessed that what we were doing was something that would touch people or stand the test of time.
Fresh face Courteney Cox before her days on 'Friends'
Even before she was on Friends, the sitcom of the '90s, Courteney Cox was making a shot at the big time. After striking out of Alabama, Cox first popped up in the "Dancing In The Dark" video by Bruce Springsteen before making a seires of guest appearances on Family Ties. However, by the time the early '90s rolled around she wasn't sure if she would ever make it.
Initially, Cox was offered the role of Rachel Green, which eventually went to Jennifer Aniston. Cox was confident enough in herself that she told producers that she should actually play Monica. The gamble worked and she spent the next decade making bank on NBC.
Can you look at Courteney Cox without hearing the 'Friends' theme
No longer tethered to her friends in, well, Friends, Cox still feels like she was always meant to play Monica. Not only was Monica Geller her biggest role, but she was a character that people felt close to. The role was more than just someone on TV, it was a cultural touchstone.
While chatting on Instagram live in 2020, Cox explained that she feels close to her most famous character because they're kind of the same person. In the talk she showed off her immaculate kitchen as well as a collection uniformly laid out spices, kitchen utensils, and snacks. Gosh, she's such a Monica.
Gal Gadot visits the U.S. for the first time as a teenager in New York, 1999
Long before she picked up the mantle of Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot was preparing to go to law school. She thought that her career would lie in international relations, but when she was given the opportunity to model across the world she couldn't turn that down. A trip to New York City in the '90s cemented the idea that she should give modeling a try.
When she was 18-years-old Gadot rolled the dice on the Miss Israel contest, something that proved to be fortuitous. She thought that the competition would be a fun thing to do, but she never thought that she would win. Luckily for the rest of the world she was wrong.
It looks like she hasn't aged a day
Years after taking the crown of Miss Israel, Gadot is confident in her place in the world. She's not just Wonder Woman, she's an icon that young people across the world look up to. It's a tough position but one that she's happy to be in.
Today, Gadot is less worried about how she appears to the outside world and more concerned about stay grounded. She told Instyle that the one thing she's doing to keep her wits is limit her screentime:
I make rules to try to limit my screen usage. I don't touch the phone as soon as I wake up or when we're having dinner — phones are not at the table — but I can't tell you that I'm great about it during the day.
Harry Styles, the prince of pop, has always been a ham. Even while growing up in the '90s he was clearly the kind of kid who would do whatever it took to entertain - even if that meant holding a GIANT spider. That's the kind of person who's made for the stage.
Long before he was a megastar thanks to One Direction, Styles was the kind of kid who began recording himself through his family's karaoke machine. That's not so out of the ordinary, but it takes a lot of charisma and dedication to go from singing in your bedroom to doing it in front of thousands of people. It's astonishing that a kid from Cheshire, England was able to make it happen.
Once a ham, always a ham
By the end of the 2010s Harry Styles was one of the most famous people on the planet. That's quite the rise from a kid in England to a reality show to being a commanding solo presence. Keeping a level head in a situation like that seems impossible, but he does his best.
While speaking with NPR, Styles noted that he just tries to be himself but admits that who he is is always changing:
In the early years, I spent a lot of time worrying about what would happen and getting things wrong and saying the wrong thing and doing the wrong thing. I'm trying to let go of the worrying thing, and that's what I've loved the most about this album, rather than the first one. I think I had a lot of fear — whether it was conscious or subconsciously — just about getting it wrong. When I listen back to the first album now, although I still love it so much, I feel like I was almost bowling with the bumpers up a little bit. I can hear places where I was playing it safe.
Jennifer Lopez 1997. A year later she told an interviewer, "I feel I can do anything–any kind of role. I’m fearless."
Little did anyone know in the 1990s, but when Jennifer Lopez was performing as a Fly Girl on In Living Color she was already on her way to being one of the biggest superstars on the planet. In less than a decade, Lopez went from a dancer on a TV show to the star of Selena. With that role it was clear that Lopez was one of the most charming stars of the decade.
With just the single role in Selena Lopez showed that she wasn't just an amazing on camera presence but that she could keep an audience in rapture. For the rest of the '90s Lopez careened back and forth between starring roles in genre films and singing straight up hit pop songs. That's a rare thing.
Jennifer Lopez says 2020 taught her what 'matters most'
It's crazy that more people aren't full on Jennifer Lopez obsessives, right? In the '90s she rocked movies like Out of Sight and Anaconda (seriously, she's so good in this movie), and in the 2010s she came back with a truly stand out performance in Hustlers. She's more than just a star, she's a galaxy.
Lopez explained that in the 2010s she finally figured out that she (and all of us) are always moving through different phases in our life. She said:
I feel like I'm in my second, third, or fourth act. I feel like I've lived several lifetimes already and I’ve had to figure myself out along the way, work out why I felt a certain way; or got into relationships that didn't serve me. And I finally realized, 'It’s me. It's all me. I got to fix some stuff. I need to understand my own worth and value.'
Joaquin Phoenix grew uncomfortable with his photoshoot so he started doing dishes, 1996
In the 1990s Joaquin Phoenix was struggling with being the brother of River Phoenix, a young star who's life came to a tragic end on Halloween night 1993 outside the Viper Room. The surviving Phoenix brother was already a model and an actor, but without his brother he had to wade through the choppy waters of Hollywood alone. That's not something that anyone should do.
Even with his Roman features and camera ready looks, Phoenix was uncomfortable in his own skin. He was so put off by being an "it" guy that he supposedly started doing dishes during this photoshoot just so he would have something to do. We've all been there, right?
Phoenix has grown into his larger than life persona, even if it makes him uncomfortable
Today, Phoenix is a much bigger star than he was in the '90s but he's still visibly uncomfortable when he's not performing. He's proven himself time and time again to be capable of handling nuanced roles, but when it comes to interacting with the press he looks like he'd rather be at home. Or maybe he'd rather be doing the dishes.
It makes sense that he would be put off by all the trappings of fame that have nothing to do with getting in front of the camera and performing. Some people just aren't made to rub elbows and glad hand. Some stars need their space, and Phoenix has definitely earned his.
Keanu Reeves kicks up his feet in Paris, "I try not to do anything I don’t want to do."
When did Keanu Reeves become an icon? Not a star on the Walk of Fame, smiling in an ad for his personal brand of bourbon kind of icon, but the kind of icon that everyone just loves no matter what he does? It all goes back to Bill & Ted.
The first Bill & Ted may have come out in the late '80s, but watching that film with hindsight you can actually see the decades blending into one another. Reeves was able to take the sly goofball schtick of that film and carry into films like Speed and Point Break. In the '90s he showed that even though he's not an everyman he's someone that everyone can enjoy - and that's because he follows his bliss.
Keanu is still doing whatever he wants to and audiences love him for it
Looking back on Reeve's filmography it's easy to see why he's so likeable. He doesn't just do action films or romantic comedies or quiet indies, he does it all. He may be astounding to look at but he's also a regular person, he likes to spice things up every once in a while.
Every few years there's an appraisal of Reeve's work. It's almost as if stuffy critics are giving themselves permission to enjoy his work. But the truth of the matter is that his films will always be there waiting for you like a good friend and that's why everyone loves Keanu Reeves so much.
Leonardo DiCaprio on set of Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo and Juliet' (1996)
When did you first become aware of Leonardo DiCaprio? If you're like most audience members it's when he took on the role of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Shakespeare's most famous play that's both poetic and startlingly violent. DiCaprio doesn't just impress in this film, he makes you want to see more.
As odd as it may be to see actors living in the modern world speaking like they're from 16th century England, DiCaprio said that the language aspect of the role helped him stay grounded. He explained:
I think that the way we’ve done it, it almost relaxed me a lot more. I think I would have been a lot more nervous if I knew I had to do it traditionally. The manner in which we speak, not having to have some affected English accent, made everything a lot more close to home. Even though it’s a fantasy world, it has a lot of modern references in it, especially with the violence and gang warfare, so it made me feel a lot closer to home. I think Shakespeare probably would have wanted his work to live on through the years, become a timeless piece that could adapt to the future.
All grown up...
It's odd to think that there was a time in the modern era that DiCaprio wasn't one of the most famous people on Earth. Shortly after Romeo + Juliet was released he starred in a little movie called Titanic that broke box office records and made him more than a household name. From that moment out he wasn't just a star, he was an icon.
Today, DiCaprio pretty much does whatever he wants. He still stars in huge moves like Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and The Revanent, but he seems to have taken a step back to enjoy the fruits of his labor. That's something that should be applauded because not many people are able to do that for themselves.
Michael Jordan on the set of 'Space Jam' in the Jordan Dome, an inflatable dome on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, 1996
'90s kids look back fondly on Space Jam, the film that posited that Michael Jordan was the one person who could help the Looney Tunes win a basketball game. To actually put Jordan into the film he had to spend an entire off-season in Burbank acting against a green screen. When he wasn't on camera he was in the specially constructed "Jordan Dome" where he made sure he was in fighting shape for the next season with the Bulls.
Jordan's personal physician says that initially Warner Bros. was going to set up a makeshift basketball court in a parking lot, but Jordan insisted that needed a state of the art training area where he could life weights and play basketball against any and all comers. Space Jam Director Joe Pytka recalled:
It was a full-sized basketball court with an inflatable dome. And Michael would go up there and everybody in town would come to play basketball there and challenge him. He’d play basketball every night, and he had great players come in. All the LA players could run up there to play.
No longer in the dome...
Even though he's been away from the court for more than 20 years, Michael Jordan will always be one of the most important basketball players of all time. After his rise to one of the most thrilling players in sports history was chronicled in The Last Dance, audiences got an inside look into Jordan's headspace throughout the '90s. Something that he wasn't always comfortable with.
However, while speaking with Good Morning America about his trip to the big time he said that the most important person in his life before making it to the Bulls was his brother. He explained:
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my brother Larry. Larry pushed me and we used to fight after every game, but through that fight, you know, emerged someone like me.
In the mid '90s, east coast rap was justing beginning to make a name for itself. Sure, there was plenty of hip hop in New York in the '80s, but it wasn't until the Notorious B.I.G. and Diddy blew things up in the '90s that the world took notice. For a few years all eyes were on NYC thanks to these three.
With "Ready To Die," the Notorious B.I.G. ascended from a guy rapping on the street to being one of the most preeminent artists of the era. Behind him stoody Diddy, a producer and artist in his own right. However, after a fateful shooting on March 9, 1997, the Notorious B.I.G.'s voice was snuffed out forever.
Diddy has grown into an elder statesman of hip hop
Today, Diddy has become a guiding light in the hip hop community. In the 2000s he was all over the place in terms of what he was up to. He had a reality show, his own alcohol brand, you name it and he was doing it.
At the time, all of Diddy's different focuses served to turn him into an incredibly wealthy entrepaneur. Even though it may have seemed like he was throwing things at the wall at the time it's now clear that there was a vision. He absolutely deserves his spot on the top of the hip hop royalty hierarchy.
Pamela Anderson in 1996
After coming to Los Angeles in the late '80s, Pamela Anderson all but took over Hollywood. She holds the prestigious position of appearing on the cover of tons of magazines, and who could forget her years spent running in slow motion on Baywatch? Not us.
Even though Anderson was never considered a prestige actress when she was working all the time, she was beloved as a cult star in dorm rooms across the world. If it feels like Pam Anderson was everywhere in the '90s that's because she was. She had two hit shows in syndication, and she starred in her own gonzo version of Casablanca. Ah, the '90s.
Today, Anderson is an open book
She may not be all over television today the same way that she was in the '90s, but Anderson still pops up from time to time. And rather than use the platform to bring up old success, she uses TV to call attention to things that she believes need to be noticed. It's genuinely the best way to use your star power.
Removed from the stigma of Baywatch, Anderson is an excellent reminder that someone isn't always what we think. She's an extremely well studied woman who works for a variety of causes, and on top of that she's incredibly successful. It's hard not to be a fan of her.
Reese Withershpoon backstage at a Counting Crows concert in 1996
Is there anything more '90s than seeing Reese Witherspoon at a Counting Crows concert? At the time the young Witherspoon had yet to become the international superstar that she is today, but she was getting great notices in films like Pleasantville and Election. Even she still has a baby face it's hard to imagine her looking so young.
As popular as Witherspoon was, she says that her early roles nearly typecast her out of Hollywood. She explained:
[Executives] thought I was a shrew. My manager finally called and said, ‘You’ve got to go meet with the studio head because he will not approve you. He thinks you really are your character from Election and that you’re repellent.’ And then I was told to dress sexy.
Everything changed for Witherspoon with Legally Blonde. The little movie about a rich girl who shows that she can operate in the system without changing her ideals made the actress a household name and showed that she could do whatever she wanted onscreen. It was a revelation for the audience and for Witherspoon.
Today, Witherspoon runs her own company, something she says she was inspired to do when she found that no one in Hollywood had faith in her:
I was in this position where I was making studios a lot of money, and I had for years and years, and they didn’t take me seriously as a filmmaker. Somehow, they didn’t think that 25 years of experience could add up to some inherent knowledge of what movies work and how to keep them on budget.
There really was no one cooler in the '90s than Rose McGowan. She not only starred in the transgressive films of Gregg Araki but she was also a mainstay in the horror genre thanks to her work in Scream and Jawbreaker. Seriously, she was everywhere.
This behind the scenes shot from Jawbreaker shows exactly how charismatic McGowan was during her heyday. With the purple on purple outfit and the lock attached to her necklace she's practically jumping off the screen in vivid color in this Polaroid and all she's doing is posing for the wardrobe department. Some people just know how to be cool.
This blonde has more fun
After directing the short film Dawn in the 2010s, McGowan did her best to sever ties with Hollywood while still doing her part to change the system from the inside out. Her work with the MeToo and Times Up movements has been inspiring to women everywhere. However, it's separated her from the work were audiences first met her.
Even though she's no longer working in Hollywood, it's best that she's happy and healthy and living her best life. So many entertainers burn themselves out without knowing when to take a step back and reevaluate. McGowan seems to be doing just fine.
Sarah Jessica Parker is stunning post work out
Sarah Jessica Parker made huge moves in the '90s. Not only did she transition from a teenie bopper star of films like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun to more grown up films like Roxanne, but she was able to become a known quantity. With Sex and the City Parker not only redefined who she was, but she redefined television.
At the time, audiences didn't expect much out of a series from HBO but that all changed when Parker brought Sex and the City to life. Not only did she star in this series about four single women in New York City, but she was the executive producer, a role that allowed her to actually craft the series how she saw fit. She paved the way for more women to tell their own stories in the way they see fit.
Today, Parker is still acting but she's no longer just tied to appearing on camera or on stage. While her most famous character, Carrie Bradshaw, was addicted to fashion, Parker now creates fashion. In the 2010s she established her own shoe line, something that she's been trying to do for years.
While speaking with Harper's Bazaar, Parker explained that she's so excited about fashion because she can do it all and not just have to one thing one way forever. That's the kind of power that comes with making such an impact for decades. The only person that you're beholden to is yourself.
Sheryl Lee... the iconic actor who played Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks ⛰️⛰️
On April 8, 1990, people across America all had one question on their minds: who is Laura Palmer? They may have also been wondering why she's wrapped in plasitc. With zero lines, and little screentime, Sheryl Lee bewitched the world in Twin Peaks.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the strange nature of Twin Peaks and working with David Lynch, Lee said that she doesn't worry about not knowing where her long-running role is going:
I trust David enough to know that he has a plan. I may not know what that is. I may not understand it, but it doesn’t matter. He has a plan, and my job is to stay present and honest in each moment, moment by moment. And to trust him, as I do.
She returned... 25 years later
It took 25 years to get back to Twin Peaks and the Red Room, but in 2017 Sheryl Lee made her return to the neo noir mind-bender of the series. In that time Lee popped up on TV every once in a while, but when she returned to the role of Laura Palmer it was a revelation for fans. For Lee, this wasn't just stepping back into an old job, it was a chance to see old friends and make something special.
When Lee did the interview circuit for Twin Peaks: The Return she was fully committed to the ambigious nature of the series. Even when asked how things had changed on set she spoke in a pseudo riddle:
In one way it seems no time has passed, and in another way it seems as if lifetimes have passed.
The cast of Friends on a trip to Las Vegas in 1994 before the show premiered
This throwback shot shows the Friends cast like we've never seen them before, all together as regular people. Taken before the premiere of the show, none of the stars were aware just how famous they were going to be. It was the last time they were able to go into public without being mobbed.
In an interview with Ellen, Aniston explained that the series director, Jim Burrows, told the group on the way to Vegas:
‘This world can be pretty dark, and you guys gotta really stick together and take care of each other.' And we took that to heart for sure, obviously. And then he handed us each a couple hundred bucks and said, ‘Now go into the casino and go gamble because this is the last time you’ll be able to walk into a casino anonymously.’ And we had no clue what he was talking about… and sure enough, that was the last time we were able [to do that].
They'll be there for you
Back together again after decades off the air, the Friends cast looks remarkably similar to the way they did in the show's finale. Like the previous photo, this shot was posted to Instagram to show just how close the Friends cast remains. This post is total friend goals (literally).
It's not clear when this photo was snapped, but it likely had something to do with the planning stages of the Friends reunion that premiered on HBO in 2021. Or maybe the Friends cast just really likes to hang out together. Whatever the case, they look happy to be there for one another all over again.
The face that launched a thousand ships... Julia Roberts, early 90s
Hands down there was no one more famous than Julia Roberts. Thanks to a brain breaking amount of hits in the final decade of the 20th century Roberts went from the girl in Pretty Woman to someone who couldn't walk down the street without bodyguards. However, Roberts feels that if she were coming up today she never would have had the chance to be on the bigscreen, at least in the capacity we know her.
Roberts spoke with The Guardian and noted that there was no way that anyone would touch the Pretty Woman script today:
A lot has changed in the industry…I don’t really think you could make that movie now, right? So many things you could poke a hole in, but I don’t think it takes away from people being able to enjoy it. It really is not a measure of talent, particularly in the beginning. It’s a measure of good fortune – and being able to have your wits about you enough to make something out of that good fortune.
Is Julia Roberts the last epic star of her era?
Even though Roberts has more or less slowed her output to a crawl it's not because she's not busy. She's the mother of three children, which is enough of a job for anyone, and whenever she pops up onscreen (big or small) it's a revelation. Somehow, she remains unaffected by her fantastic life.
Roberts says that she doesn't like to look back on her heyday in the '90s with rose tinted glasses, mostly because she's still moving forward:
Too much thinking and pondering, it’s exhausting to me. Because we’re still moving forward, aren’t we? I mean, I suppose I’ll look back when I’m 90 and living at the motion-picture home." She bursts out laughing. "That was what Garry Marshall [the director of Pretty Woman] used to say. He’d take Polaroids on set and say, 'When I’m in the motion-picture home, I’m going to have a scrapbook, and say, this is what I used to do, these are my friends!
The poster and VHS box image for Home Alone of Kevin with his hands on his face and screaming is based on the famous painting "The Scream" by Edvard Munch
As much as every kid across the country envied Macauly Culkin in the '90s, it couldn't have been easy to be a super famous child. Aside from not being able to go anywhere without being mobbed, there's no way to be a normal kid. At the height of his popularity there was no going to an arcade and no going to the movies without feeling like the boy in the bubble.
Culkin's two Home Alone films made him a household name for the rest of his life. Even though he had more hits in the early '90s there was no escaping his home invasion saga that made him famous. It was only growing up that helped him escape the guilded prison of child stardom.
All grown up...
Out of all the child stars of the '90s, Culkin seems to be the one who figured out how to have a somewhat normal life. Or at the very least he looks like he's having fun with playing with his image. He says that there's no point in chasing one's '90s era fame because it's long gone and in the rearview mirror.
While speaking with the Guardian he noted that he's not really into the careerist thing like the rest of his famous friends. He explained:
People feel they have to be in perpetual motion, or drown. I’ve never had a problem saying I’ve got nothing lined up. Maybe I’ll take the next year off.
They could be twins... Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, 1994
It's strange to see the Kardashians in their pre-fame high school days. At the time the closest that they'd been to the media was when their father was involved in the O.J. Simpson court case. This photo shows that at one point they were just regular kids (as hard as that is to imagine).
After years of watching the Kardashians on television and reading about their exploits in tabloids it's hard not to have an idea of who they are and what they're all about. However, it's important to remember that at one point they were just normal people. They were girls who just wanted to have fun.
The twin vibes are still off the charts
Even thought little has changed with the way that the Kardashians look in between decades, so much has changed about their lives. Not only do they have one of the most successful brands on television, but the American public knows pretty much everything about them. Or at least we think we do.
In a conversation with Interview Magazine, Kim Kardashian explained that the early seasons of their show are an exercise in information overload and that they only learned to pull back as their fame grew:
You really do learn about boundaries over time. I look back at some of the episodes in the earlier seasons and think, 'I can’t believe I shared that' —dates with random people when we were single, things like that. But I also think that going through the motions of something like the aftermath of the robbery, or situations that most people might not understand, there are some people who might really have gone through that. I think about them. I feel like I came out of that a better person.
Throwback picture of Adele in front of Spice Girls posters in 1998
There's a comfort to seeing that some of the biggest celebrities in the world are just like us, or at least they were when they were young. This photo of Adele shows that she was just a regular girl when she was growing up. Her obsession with the Spice Girls is the same as any girl her age, or for that matter it's the same as someone who grew up in the '60s having an obsession with The Beatles.
Pretty much everyone had a childhood obsession, whether it's the Spice Girls, Star Wars, or comic books. It's incredibly cool to see such a no chill photo of one of the most composed stars of all time. It's enough to make you feel alright about your own childhood photos.
So much has changed...
In 2020, Adele posted a photo that broke the internet. She showed off her extreme weightloss in an Instagram post from 2020 that left fans unsure of what to think. She looked so different that it's hard to fathom just how she went about her change.
Adele's trainer Peter Geracimo explained that working with Adele wasn't about helping her lose weight, that was just a biproduct of their routine:
In my personal experience of working with her through many highs and lows, she always marched to the beat of her own drum on her own terms... She never once pretended to be something that she wasn’t. What you saw was what you got. And we all LOVED it! When Adele and I started our journey together, it was never about getting super skinny. It was about getting her healthy.
Will Smith smeared with cake at the 'Fresh Prince Of Bel Air' wrap partyWhether it was Will Smith's stunning charisma or just the exciting concept of drawing from the burgeoning hip hop scene of the '90s, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of the biggest hits of the decade. Smith was already a known quantity among the MTV set, but it wasn't until he took on the role of "Will" in this series he became a household name. It makes sense that Will became "Will," because the character and the actor are as close to the same as possible.
The similarities between Will the actor and Will the character go straight back to when Smith was in school. He explained that he got the nickname "Fresh Prince" when he was still a teen:
One of my teachers used to call me Prince, because I always had a way of charming myself in and out of different situations. And I just added the Fresh to give it extra pizzazz.
Will Smith brings it all to the table
When The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air went off the air Smith had no desire to wait around. He spent the '90s as an action hero and the 2000s as the king of rom-coms. Smith really was the king of the film industry for close to two decades.
Today, Smith has settled into an elder statesman role within Hollywood, something that he's uniquely suited to. He's still a major box office draw but he almost seems to use his celebrity as a way to a shine a light on others. Still, it's always fun to see him whenever he shows up on screen.
Regardless of era, Winona Ryder has always been a fashion icon. Throughout the '90s she looked consistently cool in her jeans and leather jacket, almost more like a rocker than an actress. However, she's not so keen on '90s fashion making a return.
While speaking with Harper's Bazaar, Ryder noted that as cool as '90s fashon could be not everything deserves a comeback:
There were certain things that were simply welcome - like, suddenly it was ‘cool’ to wear thrift store clothes, flannels, etc. That was great in the sense that it was something that everyone could afford. I thought that was really cool. Then designers started making $500 flannel shirts and we were like, 'huh?'
Winona Forever ♥♥♥
Today, Ryder notes that her fashion is pretty much the same as it's always been. It's honestly wild how similar she looks today to how she looked in the '90s. She may have grown up but she still loves her jeans and t-shirts, something that she says will never change no matter how much her clothes fall apart.
Ryder spoke about her dwindling t-shirt collection to Harper's Bazaar and explained that she's finally getting to a stage where they have to be retired:
I just had to retire an old Clash T-shirt from the first time I saw them in 1980 because it was so incredibly thin and just disintegrating. But I ended up framing it. I inherited my fathers ‘archivist’ gene, so it’s really hard for me to let go of things.
Young Ashton Kutcher lost the title of Male Model of the Year in 1998
Looking back at his long career, it's hard to believe that at one point Ashton Kutcher was a model for Calvin Klein. Well, it's not out of the realm of possibility, the man is all cheek bones and striking eyes. Decades of screen time makes it seem like this photo of Kutcher is from another lifetime.
Kutcher says that even though the modeling thing wasn't that important to him, what was important was making sure that he had multiple streams of income to keep from him being high and dry at an early age:
I think, more than anything, it comes from the fact that my father always had several irons in the fire. Also, I don't want to fail. If something doesn't work out—if That '70s Show got canceled or if I wasn't going to have a film career—I always wanted to have backup contingency plans. So I just started doing other things; and on a half-hour sitcom, you're really only working for 30 hours a week. It allows a lot of time for sitting around, which I always kind of filled with work.
In the decades since Kutcher transitioned from model to actor to hearthrob he's continued to throw new irons in the fire. Of course there's the acting but Kutcher also has invested in multiple tech startups while working on a series of human rights campaigns. He wasn't joking about staying busy.
Even though audiences will likely keep seeing Kutcher onscreen for years to come, at the moment he's attempting to make sure that the tech industry is able to sleep at night with his Tech for Good initiative. He said:
Everything has moved online. There may be very few financial incentives to solve some of the biggest problems in the world. But now those problems are all tech problems. Entrepreneurs and engineers have to ask themselves what am I doing to help? If I’m not doing anything, then I’m part of the problem.
A very young Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey is just one of the coolest guys in the room, full stop. In the '90s he was an up and coming actor who happened to have the best catch phrase on the planet ("Alright, alright, alright), and he had the laid back nature to match his persona. His chill vibe was inescapable.
In 1999, McConaughey was still on the rise as a performer. He was able to live in Los Angeles and Texas without anyone knowing who he was, which feels crazy but that's the truth. He was so unknown that he even had to deal with neighbors complaining about all of his bongo playing. There's no way that would happen today.
Matthew McConaughey is doing alright, alright, alright
Today, McConaughey fills the role of guru of cool. Even though he never left the cultural sphere, he's been re-evaluated for a new generation as a sincere guy who gives his roles a kind of grounded relaxation. It turns out that this isn't an accident.
In 2020, McConaughey spoke with The Cut about his life as an elder statesmen in Hollywood and how he still gets nervous before a big scene. More importantly, he spoke about how he gets rid of those nerves:
To this day I do the same on set. It’s something I learned when I did the film A Time to Kill. There was a great defense attorney, last name Spence, and before every final summation, he’d get so nervous, and couldn’t quell it. You’ve gotta learn to sit there right before and go: Sheesh! I’m nervous! It kind of pops the bubble and all of a sudden, you relax.