Winona Forever

Winona Ryder

Marc Jacobs has announced Winona Ryder as his new beauty muse. For Hadley Freeman, it’s a no brainer.

In my dreams, I look like Winona Ryder. In my reality, on a good day, I look like the teenager from the film of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. Ever since I first saw Winona in the undeservedly little seen and totally brilliant film, Lucas, when I was nine and she was 15, she has always been, the paragon of female beauty to me.

Sure, I’ve had girl crushes on plenty of beautiful women in my time – Katharine Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Pam Grier, Julie Christie, Marilyn Monroe – but it’s Winona that I adore the most, probably because I can relate to her that little bit more. Unlike the the aforementioned superhuman beauties, Ryder just looks that bit more real, like someone you could realistically be best friends with in school only to realise one day that you are best friends with one of the most beautiful women in the world. The other women are like amazing paintings you might see in the Tate Modern: astonishing, sure, but you can’t really imagine them in your home. Plus she’s Jewish, and there aren’t enough Jewish beauty icons out there for fellow Jewesses like me to idolise (I do not count Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson here because they, like Hepburn et al, are just too superhumanly beautiful for me to feel anything other than distant admiration).

In the 90s Winona was the face of female beauty, even if she herself never seemed to believe it, always hiding behind Johnny Depp, who was similarly uncomfortable with his ridiculously perfect looks. That only made me love her more and I get angry – actually angry – at the thought that a stupid moment of shoplifting – shoplifting! For God’s sake, shoplifting! – has scuppered her once A-list career. Wes Anderson, can you please give this woman a role?

Of late, Ryder has grown out her hair and favours a red lip, but my preferred Winona look is when her hair is just above her shoulders with a bit of a fringe and artfully scruffy (I’ve spent years failing to perfect the artfully scruffy Winona look), with plenty of kohl and mascara, like this and this. My favourite photo of her is one in which she appears to be wearing nothing but a bit of eyeliner, her hair tumbling back, while Depp kisses her nose . Personally, I think Depp took a step down when, after they broke up, he moved on with some chick from Croydon. He may have then doctored his tattoo to read “Wino Forever”, but my feelings are not so easily altered. For me, it will always be Winona Forever.


Hadley Freeman’s book, Be Awesome, is available now.

This article was previously posted in 2013 and has been updated.

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