Whenever Claire Danes talks about My So-Called Life it lights up a very specific nostalgia spot and so this comment in the December issue of Allure feels like it could be directly referencing me “they loved the show, that it was really meaningful to them when they were going through a bad, chaotic, murky time of being a teenager” Yep all of that is very accurate and the MSCL’s pop culture position stretches far beyond its 18-episode run (it got to the final in Vulture’s recent High School TV Showdown) and Danes discusses how this has impacted her “I feel a real loyalty to my generation. I think your identity is sort of set in your teenage years. And my cultural identity was set at that same time.”
What struck me about the shot used here of Claire Danes and Winona Ryder from 1996 is how I had forgotten that I didn’t just model my hairstyle on Michelle Williams, but Danes was a HUGE influence too – I was too scared to go for the full Winona pixie cut – and this barrette/zigzag side parting became one of my signature looks. In fact I’m actually wearing a barrette right now while typing this as like Danes my hair constantly falls in front of my face and I really need a haircut. This whole slideshow is a delight going from on and off screen style from MSCL to now including some rather dreamy takes about her relationship with Hugh Dancy.
The cover image goes full 90s with a darker lip color (Winona would approve) and this silk Lanvin dress is a stunning shade of blue; even if I would love to see a photo shoot in Danes endorsed overalls. Or maybe a little bit of plaid. But as far as glam editorials go this one is good, if not a little run of the mill. And while one of the topics covered is the much discussed cry face phenomenon, my favorite shot is on the other end of the facial expression scale.
I love a good cry face and one day I will set up the Cry Face Olympics of which there will many contenders from television and film. Danes will be a big hitter and even though I’m sure it is irritating to discuss this part of her acting style in every interview, she has softened her position from annoyance to yeah this is just what I do “I’m very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I’m not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I’m playing a character.” What she says about body image is also pretty inspiring and how there are all these different factors at play. We can be more than one thing.
“It’s just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively. I’ve wrestled with this my whole life, as just a person in the world and as somebody who makes images. It’s OK to want to look and feel your best. It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you. And it’s also OK to not expect to be defined by that. It’s OK to be powerful in every way: to be big, to take up space. To breathe and thrive.”