Winona passes on her wisdom
The icon opens up about female empowerment, the best films she's starred in – and the time she wore a $10 dress to the Oscars.
Winona Ryder has lived most of her life in the spotlight, becoming a household name at the tender age of 17 after starring in Tim Burton's cult classic Beetlejuice. While being one of Hollywood's most in-demand actresses, she's also one of the most mysterious and shunning ones, rarely frequenting events or appearing in interviews. She came of age in front of the camera, and later decided to spend years away from the immediate limelight before making her big-time return in 2016, as Joyce Byers in Netflix' Stranger Things.
With season three of the binge-worthy show in the works, Winona has little time to spare for other projects – but when the opportunity to partner dance with Elizabeth Olsen in H&M's latest campaign appeared, she didn't shy away.
In an exclusive interview for H&M Magazine, the extraordinary actress shares some of the things we've been always wanted to know about her.
THE THEME OF H&M'S SPRING CAMPAIGN IS 'TAKE THE LEAD'. HOW DO YOU INTERPRET THE MEANING OF THAT? WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO TAKE THE LEAD?
"Well, historically, in terms of dance, and obviously other aspects of life and work, it’s been the man that ‘takes the lead’. So, my interpretation was that this was much more a celebration of women doing that. And doing it for and with themselves, not as a performance for the men to watch, but for them to enjoy. Which was refreshing. And, obviously, ended up being quite timely as well."
I’m also a huge believer in re-wearing clothes. I hate this idea that you can only wear or be photographed in something once.
THERE'S A LOT OF (RATHER: ONLY) DANCING IN THE COMMERCIAL. WHAT SONG TAKES YOU IMMEDIATELY TO THE DANCEFLOOR?
"I’m not really a dancer. Although, I do love partner dancing. I grew up going to live music shows, where you're pretty cramped up against each other, and the only thing you can move is your head. I love music. But, unless it’s Duke Ellington or Glenn Miller or something, I usually don’t dance."
IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GIVE YOUR 15-YEAR-OLD SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE. WHAT WOULD IT BE?
"Probably not much. I was incredibly lucky to have been raised by incredible people, who were extremely protective of me, and who really instilled a sense of individualism in me and taught me to embrace my interests. I was shooting Beetlejuice when I was 15 – so I was pretty much having the time of my life."
OUT OF ALL THE FILMS AND TV SHOWS YOU'VE STARRED IN, IS THERE ONE YOU CAN SINGLE OUT AS YOUR FAVOURITE?
"That’s very hard. I certainly have a soft spot for the films I did with Tim Burton and, of course, Heathers. But also The Age of Innocence and The Crucible. Little Women. Girl, Interrupted. Man, it’s too hard to pick just one. I’ve been so incredibly lucky. Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth."
YOU'RE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL STYLE STARS OF THE '90S. WHAT'S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE TREND?
"I don’t know much about trends. Never really followed them."
YOU'VE SPORTED SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OVER THE YEARS. FROM BASEBALL CAPS AND OVERSIZED BLAZERS TO LEATHER JACKETS AND BAND TEES TO A RUMOURED 10 DOLLAR OSCARS DRESS. CAN YOU PINPOINT ONE – OR SOME OF – YOUR BEST STYLE MOMENTS?
"Oh god no. I don’t look at myself that way. Although, I’ve always loved vintage clothes. And have worn them a lot (to events). I’m also a huge believer in re-wearing clothes. I hate this idea that you can only wear or be photographed in something once. It’s ridiculous."
DID YOU ACTUALLY WEAR A 10 DOLLAR DRESS TO THE OSCARS?
"Well, it was $9.99, actually. Plus tax."
DO YOU HAVE ANY STYLE REGRETS?
"I’m sure I do. But I don’t exactly scroll through photos of myself to find out, thank god."
YOU'VE BEEN A PUBLIC PERSON FOR DECADES. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING? HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
"Read. Watch movies. Spend time with the people I love."
YOU DON'T HAVE ANY SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE (AT LEAST NOT PUBLICALLY). WHY NOT? DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE MISSING OUT OR ARE YOU HAPPILY NOT A PART OF IT?
"No, I’m not on social media. And, to be totally honest, I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m just a really private person."
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
"I have no idea how to answer this."
CITIES... "San Francisco, Dublin, New York."
FILMS... "Bridge on the River Kwai, Sullivan’s Travels, Pickup on South Street, The Pawnbroker, any Sidney Lumet film, Hal Ashby, Cassavetes, Wyler, Wilder, The Counterfeiters, and there’s a Japanese film that’s a favourite of mine called After Life directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. And anything with Barbara Stanwyck or William Holden."
BOOKS... "American Pastoral by Philip Roth, Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron, (and Darkness Visible), Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, Gravity’s Rainbow by Pynchon, Stoner by John Edward Williams, Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman, Rabbit Run by Updike (the whole Rabbit series). I love all Saul Bellow’s books, and Nabokov. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, I love Louise Erdrich and Zadie Smith... Dave Eggers. Anything by Salinger. I’m sure I’m leaving out some really big ones. I do like to read."
MUSIC... "Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, The Replacements, The Pixies, The Clash."