This generation of teenagers might only know Molly Ringwald as Archie's mother, Mary Andrews, in The CW's much-beloved series Riverdale, but long before that, the 53-year-old actress was a mainstay in iconic John Hughes films.
Ringwald had an unbelievable run in the 1980s, starring in Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986), and she reflected on 35 years of Pretty in Pink with Vogue's Keaton Bell this week.
It turns out, the No. 1 box office hit would not have existed without Ringwald:
"John had been wanting to write something for me, and he often used song titles for his projects since most of what he wrote was inspired by music. He wrote Pretty in Pink in between Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club and based it loosely around the Psychedelic Furs song. At that point in my life I also just really liked pink—Andie’s room was basically modeled after my own. The prop people even took a collage from my personal bedroom and used it in the movie for Andie’s room, if that tells you anything."
Andie (Ringwald), of course, was a high schooler navigating an innocent yet enthralling love triangle. Her friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer) is secretly madly in love with her, but she is distracted because popular kid Blane (Andrew McCarthy) has fallen for her against all odds.
Then only 17 years old, Ringwald was drawn to Andie because "she was so different from the types of roles being written for young women" at the time. Andie's working class roots contrasted spoiled Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club, and Andie being in control at the the center of affection from two boys opposed Samantha's misfortune in Sixteen Candles.
Ringwald also gave insight as to why she thought Hughes, who passed away suddenly from a heart attack in August 2009, was so enthralled by high school coming-of-age stories:
"I feel like there was a big part of him that was still a teenager. High school was not easy for him, and he just held onto every hurt and personal injury from that period of his life. He was a real grudge keeper, and I feel like a lot of that mentality fueled him creatively later in life. I feel like the films he made about teenagers were the most personal films that he did. All of the broad comedies he made later on are really funny, but they didn’t really speak to what was going on inside of him emotionally."
Outside of Riverdale, Ringwald has kept one foot in the teenaged romantic comedy universe as Mrs. Flynn in Netflix's The Kissing Booth franchise. The third and final iteration is expected this year.