We’rein the midst of a major career comeback for Winona Ryder. The cult 90s icon, famed for her gamine looks and grunge style, has spent years as the movie industry’s outsider – crawling under the skin of suicidal teens (Girl, Interrupted), angsty graduates (Reality Bites), and homicidal high-school students (Heathers).
Fortunately, despite the actress dropping off the radar for much of the last decade, she’s now returned to our screens in new Netflix drama Stranger Things.Ryder takes on the role of Joyce Byers, a mentally fragile woman on the search for her missing son. It’s an experience she discusses at length for the latest issue of New York magazine, in a revealing cover feature unveiled this week.
“I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m super sensitive and fragile,” she explains in the interview. “And I am super sensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. To do what I do, I have to remain open.”
“I'm so sick of people shaming women for being sensitive or vulnerable,” she continues. “It’s so bizarre to me... I do have those qualities, and I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. There were times when I let it feel too overwhelming and almost, like, shamed, but I had to just get over that.”
Ryder goes on to discuss her role as the grief-stricken mum in the sci-fi drama, tying it into her own experiences with mental illness. “There’s a line in the show where someone says (of her Stranger Things character), ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?”
“Even that word, anxious. It’s a bad word,” the actress adds. “I remember I did Diane Sawyer, and I talked about my experiences with anxiety and depression when I was that age. And I think by doing that, maybe coupled with my physical size, there’s this ‘crazy’ thing. And I’ve realised recently it’s literally impossible to try to change that story.”