Anne Philippi meets Winona Ryder

©artwork by Stephanie Shui / Another Slang

Anne Philippi meets Winona Ryder: from Snow White to Snow Queen

At the beginning of the Winona era, about the time Reality Bites came out, I really didn’t feel that much for Winona Ryder. I didn’t understand her. I couldn’t see if she was really so vibrant, or as desperate as in Girl Interrupted. She wasn’t my kind of icon. Sharon Stone was someone closer to that for me.

I was undecided towards Winona. The world around me at the time, not. Winona inspired either love or hate. Back then, in the 90s, these kind of feelings felt a lot different, because they didn’t take place on Facebook. In the 90s, love and hate for Winona took place in a bar coming up on 3am. Or at a breakfast of non-vegan products and full-lactose milk.

That’s already getting to be some time ago. Recently, and when it suddenly came up about speaking with Winona about her Netflix series Stranger Things, I felt this incontrollable urge to speak to the same Winona that, back then, I never would have wanted to speak to. After Black Swan, I suddenly had a Winona craving. Winona caught me off guard, out in the cold. Suddenly she was the Snow Queen – no longer Snow White.

But, it wasn’t the question of Winona-chills or Ryder-warmth that I was interested in. It was the question of how the ex-girl (and now woman) of Generation X is cracking the very different world of the Millennials. Almost from above. Did Winona have a parachute at the ready? So I did speak with Winona and it only took a few minutes before I recognized a mixture of tension and I-don’t-really-know in her voice. This Winona-voice from another time. No, Winona said, she doesn’t want to be a director on the side of her acting like Hollywood is making it out. And no, she doesn’t want to put on a superhero cape and jump out a window and perform as blockbuster fodder. Not that she has anything against superheroes, none at all in daily life.

Winona spoke about all of these thing very excitedly, maybe too excitedly – much more excitedly than the Millennials speak about things. It was the excitement in Winona’s voice that was so good. And it was the freedom in Winona’s voice that was so good. Why freedom? Recently she gave a pair of gloves to Tavi Gevinson that had originally been given to her by Audrey Hepburn, and with that action somehow erased every single question of generations. It was definitely time for the return of Winona as the girl diplomat.

translation: melissa frost
Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.