It happened so fast and with such fervor. I remember going to my favorite restaurant, which was always packed and you’d wait forever, but after Twin Peaks aired they were like, “Madchen, come right in!” I was like, “Oh, that’s what fame does!”
But I’ve never thought, I’ve made it. I still don’t.
, and it was like, “Oh my God, I’ve made it!” [Laughs] But as you learn, you’re one day away from not having a job. You have to earn the next one and the one after that.
It shaped me.
” And he says, “What are you doing back here?” [Laughs]
Molly Ringwald: By the time I made my first film at 13 [Tempest with John Cassavetes], I thought my chances were pretty good. I was nominated for a Golden Globe and being considered for interesting projects.
It was only two years later that I started working with John Hughes and then Time put me on the cover. So it seemed pretty promising! Being recognized for anything I had done prior to the John Hughes films was nothing compared to [what happened] a few years later.
Robin Givens: Everything changed with Head of the Class. I remember having sushi with our casting director, and she said, “Once you lose your anonymity, you’ll never get it back.
This is your last night of anonymity.” I couldn’t even fathom what she was talking about because I didn’t think of it in terms as a career.
I thought of it as, wow, I can kind of pay my own bills! [But my career] just kind of exploded. I didn’t have time to slow it down.
Robin Givens in 1990.
This Was the Real Me Back Then.
A. If they came to me [with that same request], there’s no way.
I got up at 6 A.M.
, went from audition to audition until 8 P.M.
I worked really hard at it.
I left Chicago saying, “I’m out! I’m going to make it just to spite everyone!” I didn’t know a thing, and that honestly helped take away all the fear because I had nothing to lose. I auditioned for Vegas Vacation for three months; the whole time I thought they were never going to hire me because I’m Latina.
In hindsight that kind of thinking made me a lot freer. It took me many years to get back to that.
[When I did start booking jobs] the characters I played were innocent, loving characters yet I was a pretty pent-up, angry 20-something.
Robin Givens: I was precocious.
At 21, you don’t realize how young you are. You think you’re smart, you’re a grown-up.
You look back and think, Oh my God, I was a baby!
I wanted to be a performer from the age of six or seven, so it felt like I was just fulfilling a destiny. I didn’t expect to succeed quite so quickly and on such a gigantic scale, though.
Building a career and having longevity was always the most important thing, so being in films that were so hugely successful and iconic changed the trajectory a bit. Ultimately, I feel like I managed to do what I set out to do: have a career that has endured and, most of all, a life that has been interesting.
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J. [Apa], so let’s go with them.
is the nicest and most prepared, always. I can’t say enough good things about Camila.
She’s so smart, funny, and prepared. I’m really impressed with all of the cast.
They’re light years ahead of where I was at their age.
Skeet Ulrich: Probably K.
J. [Apa] to some extent.
That’s similar to what I went through. Not that he’s unsure what to do—he’s a very clever, wise person, but I think I relate to him more in that regard.
I see him focusing on the work; he’s off to do a film right now, and he talks about his nerves and that’s the [place] I was in around his age.
Robin Givens: If I’m talking to Ashleigh [Murray] or Lili, I’ll go, “OK, that kind of sounds like me.
” There’s something about Cole that I just hold so dear. He’s head smart and heart smart.
” I so respect how he handled his journey. My heart melts when I think of him.
is like a big giant puppy! He makes you feel like the most important person.
She’s an old soul, very mature, but she’s very enthusiastic and wants to do what’s best for the overall project. I’ve given her unwarranted advice.
When she’s worked really long hours and [production ne her] to come back on a forced call earlier the next day—which means you’re not going to be able to get very much rest—I say, “I understand why you feel the need to do that, and it’s all from a good place.” But I keep trying to instill in her that you have to practice self-care and put yourself before the schedule.
For the first 10 years of my career, I completely wore myself out. You don’t really have a choice in how long your day is going to be, but when [production comes] to you and asks if you’ll come back before your turnaround, that’s something you do have a say in.
I’ve had pneumonia, I’ve had shingles, I’ve been hospitalized for exhaustion..
.there are certain things I have to do to make sure to keep myself healthy so I can get through the entire production calendar.
If I Could Go Back and Change One Thing..
[Laughs] You could tell that I was learning on the job on All My Children. I’ve been lucky enough the past five years to be working with great writers like Ryan Murphy, Dan Fogelman, and now Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa].
Molly Ringwald: I would have not limited myself to only acting. I thought I had to choose acting as the only creative pursuit for years, and I didn’t wise up until I was 40.
If I had to do it over, I would have continued singing and started seriously writing much earlier.
Skeet Ulrich: I would have done press a little differently—been a little more frugal about what I did and when.
It was a bit much too soon, but everything is live and learn.
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Skeet Ulrich in 1996.
How I’ve Learned to Advocate for Myself.
Marisol Nichols: My first agent said the only power you have in this business is the ability to say no. As I’ve learned to negotiate, you do have the power to walk away from things if you trust in your talent and yourself.
If you’re getting the short end of the stick on something, don’t do it. You’ll be unhappy.
Molly Ringwald: I have always been pretty good about standing up for myself. I think at the end of the day, you are really the only person who can do it.
Obviously I have people who I trust to speak on my behalf, but the more I can do myself, the more empowered I feel. People who grow up in the business tend to become very infantilized and feel that they need to have every little detail done for them.
I think it’s a dangerous place to live.
One minute you might have a hit [show] and your rate jumps twice as much, and then you might have two or three years where you’re not doing as much and they cut your rate down. You have to decide if you want to work or hold out for money, and then [there’s the possibility] you won’t get the job.
There were some things that I held out for and didn’t get, and then there were projects that I held out for and did. There were projects I just had to concede my rate for because I wanted to be a part of it and keep working.
I had to look at the overall big picture.
How I See the Industry Changing.
I was going against the stream by not doing that stuff, but I knew I could live with myself for the jobs I didn’t get it because I had a high standard for myself. Thank goodness I was able to steer clear of those situations.
I got really close with directors coming to my door and knowing I could be fired for [not letting them in]. I hope #MeToo inspires more artists to stand up for their own work and not be afraid to turn stuff down.
You’re in it for the long run. Keep your integrity.
Marisol Nichols: Back when I first started there were absolutely zero roles for a female Latina, unless you wanted to be the maid or a gangbanger. The nightmare statement that I heard for 20 years was, “They don’t want to go ethnic.
” I’d be like, “Why? Because it would send the wrong message?” Now I hear casting directors want somebody ethnic. I’m like, “Oh my God, [change is] finally [happening].
To Roberto’s credit, he made the Lodge family on Riverdale a Latino family, which is amazing. In the last few roles I’ve had, I’ve played a senator, a general manager of a baseball team, a doctor, and now a corrupt businessman—but a businessman nonetheless.
I’ve played these high-level people that just happen to be Latino, which I think is cool.
Molly Ringwald: Everyone ne to be vigilant about making sure everyone is able to tell their story.
People who are in power [need to keeping saying they] believe that diversity matters—and make sure that a decent percentage of women make up their crews behind-the-scenes. I want to see all ages represented.
Molly Ringwald in 1985.
Skeet Ulrich: I never thought anyone would consider me good looking at 48 years old.
[Laughs] So, that’s interesting. When fans rushed the stage at Paleyfest, I think we all nearly had a heart attack.
Robin Givens: I remember a group of soccer players at the airport were leaving on an early flight and were like, “Aaaaahhhhh!” Thirty blonde girls screaming at the top of their lungs. It kind of made me circle back to that time during Head of the Class.
Now I’ve got some knowledge, wisdom, and maturity under my belt.
People can find out where the cast is going to be, and it happens so instantaneously. I’m feeling a lot of Twin Peaks vibes again—just being recognized multiple times a day.
Even in different countries I hear, “Mama Coop! How you doing?” The Twin Peaks days were intense, and from that grew some stalker problems that I had to deal with back then. I learned very quickly that I didn’t want to be famous; I just wanted to be an actress.
Mark Consuelos: My wife and I were at at a restaurant and some teenage girls were freaking out and circling the table with their cameras taking selfies, but really taking pictures with us in the background.
I’m so oblivious; I really don’t know it’s happening. Kelly [Ripa] will tell me, and I’m like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.
” I haven’t experienced people losing their minds or crying like they do over Luke or Skeet. [Laughs] They don’t do that for me, which I’m completely fine with.
But people are really cool. They smile or say they like my work, and that’s the extent of it.
The only thing you can focus on is doing your job to the best of your abilities and improving, but it’s nice to be part of something that is recognized. I’d be lying if I didn’t say we do our job for an audience, and it’s nice to know you have one.
Molly Ringwald: In addition to Riverdale, I get recognized for the Hughes films which are still enormously popular with subsequent generations—and also for Secret Life of The American Teenager. I just can’t get away from teenagers somehow.
I’m like the Patron Saint of Teens!
Marisol Nichols: We were in Paris this spring, and my hotel was surrounded [by fans]. People camping out at all hours of the night waiting for us to come and go so they could possibly get a picture with us or say hi.
I never experienced that in my life. You couldn’t even get to your hotel room without security, but I would stop and take pictures, absolutely.
Nothing compares to that live interaction.
If I Wrote a Letter to My Younger Self, I’d Say.
Lose the gold chain, dude.
Molly Ringwald: Dear young Molly, Learn Spanish and wear more sunscreen!
Jessica Radloff is the West Coast Editor at Glamour.
Lead Photo: Getty Images.