Molly Ringwald reveals “harrowing” experience as young actress

Molly Ringwald has shared her “harrowing” experience with Hollywood “predators” as a young actress.

During an appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, the former teen idol was asked how she avoided the “tragic” career trajectory many child stars face when transitioning to adult films.

“So many of that generation got kind of f***** up,” Maron told the Sixteen Candles star. “You’re coming up against all these old actors, and there’s this culture in [Hollywood], did it feel menacing?”

Main: Molly Ringwald, January 2019. Inset: Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish in “The Breakfast Club,” directed by John Hughes, 1985. The former teen idol detailed her experience dealing with Hollywood “predators” as a young actress.

Silver Screen Collection/Dia Dipasupil//Moviepix/Getty Images Entertainment

Describing herself as shy and introverted at the time, Ringwald said she never spent time club-hopping like many of her peers.

“You’re lucky you didn’t get taken advantage of or got into some sort of horrible situation,” Maron told the Pretty in Pink actress.

“Oh I was taken advantage of,” Ringwald chuckled. “You can’t be a young actress in Hollywood and not have predators around.”

“I wasn’t raped by Harvey Weinstein, so I’m grateful for that,” she continued. “But I also did write an essay for The New Yorker that was all like ‘It’s not all Harvey Weinstein, he’s not the only one.”

Now 56 years old, Ringwald credits her “incredible survival instinct” for getting her out of “questionable situations.”

“[I] did manage to sort of figure out a way to protect myself,” she said. “But, erm…yeah. It can be harrowing.

“You know, I have a 20-year-old daughter now who is going into the same profession, even though I did everything I could to convince her to do something else, and it’s hard.”

Although her father was a successful jazz musician, Ringwald said her parents “didn’t really know what we were getting into” when they allowed her to start performing.

“They just thought ‘oh I have this talented kid and everyone likes her and this is great,'” Ringwald said.

When asked if the “dangerous” side of Hollywood compelled her to move to France in her early 20s, the Young Artist Award winner said it was more about carving out an identity for herself, away from the spotlight.

As director John Hughes’ muse in the 1980s, Ringwald starred in a string of teen-targeted hits including The Breakfast Club and For Keeps. By the early 1990s, Ringwald was tired of being “that girl” but was too young for the meatier roles she craved, being turned down for the lead in Working Girl (1988), which went to Melanie Griffith, and Jodie Foster’s role in Silence of the Lambs (1991).

“I feel like, I really needed to get out of America. I had been working for so long that I didn’t have any experience of what it was like to be a person, that [wasn’t] always been looked at,” Ringwald said.

The actress appeared in French movies for several years before returning to the U.S. She has since starred in several TV shows, including The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, as well as multiple stints on Broadway.

However, Ringwald said that she no longer watches herself on screen, telling Maron: “I don’t enjoy it.”

“When I was younger I used to watch, and then I’ve gone back and watched those early movies I did with John Hughes with my kids as an experience, but no, I don’t watch stuff that I do now,” she said.

“I will if I have to, if I go to like a premiere, or something like that, and if I’m in it, but I won’t say I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy it.”

When a stunned Maron asked why, Ringwald said: “I don’t know, it’s probably vanity, it’s probably, like, I have an older face now and I’m not used to it.”

She continued: “I kind of got out of the habit. There’s other stuff I’d rather be doing. I already did it, why do I need to watch it?”