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Molly Ringwald Comments On Predatory Behavior in Hollywood

Samantha Franco

Molly Ringwald is opening up about the difficulties of being a young actress in Hollywood. Joining Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, Ringwald shared her own experiences from when she was younger, starring in films like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. With her wisdom of the industry, she even tried to dissuade her own daughter from going into acting.

Ringwald says it’s hard to be a young female in Hollywood

Headshot of Molly Ringwald.
Molly Ringwald, 1987. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

Ringwald rose to fame following her roles in Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986). In the first film listed, Ringwald was only 16 years old, making her a pretty young actress for the level of fame she achieved at the time. She explained that she sometimes felt estranged from Hollywood life because of her age.

“I never really felt like I was part of a community when I was in Hollywood, just because I was so young, really,” Ringwald said. “I wasn’t into going out to clubs. I feel like I’m more social now than I was then. I was just too young.” Hollywood can be an intimidating place for a young woman. “It can be harrowing,” she said.

As Ringwald’s daughter, Mathilda, pursues acting herself, Ringwald explained that she has tried to convince her not to because of how difficult it is for young women. “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,” she explained.

She was taken advantage of

Side profile of Molly Ringwald.
Molly Ringwald attends on April 27, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo Credit: Paul Morigi / Getty Images)

After Ringwald explained how she felt estranged from her community, Maron said, “Well, you’re lucky you didn’t get taken advantage of or got into some sort of horrible situation.” To this, Ringwald quickly corrected the podcast host. “Oh, I was taken advantage of,” Ringwald said. “You can’t be a young actress in Hollywood and not have predators around.”

Sadly, this is the reality for a lot of young women in the industry, but thankfully, Ringwald was able to navigate herself to come out of everything protected. Without going into much detail, she explained how she was “definitely in questionable situations” in her younger years. However, she said she relied on her “incredible survival instinct and a pretty big superego” to “figure out a way to protect myself” from predators in the industry.

She knows that some of her films didn’t age well

The Breakfast Club cast.
A promo photo of the cast of ‘The Breakfast Club.’ (Photo Credit: Universal Studios / mdew / MovieStillsDB)

Ringwald reached the height of her fame during the 1980s and is aware that times were different back then. She agrees that some of the films she starred in haven’t necessarily aged well in the context of the modern day. For instance, she is aware that Judd Nelson’s character in The Breakfast Club sexually harassing her character is completely inappropriate. Still, she is torn, as she says there are things about those movies she still loves.

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“When I made those movies with John Hughes, his intention was to not make ‘Porky’s’ or ‘Animal House,'” Ringwald said at the time. “But I think, as everyone says and I do believe is true, that times were different and what was acceptable then is definitely [not] acceptable now and nor should it have been then, but that’s sort of the way that it was.”

“I feel very differently about the movies now and it’s a difficult position for me to be in, because there’s a lot that I like about them,” she continued. “And of course I don’t want to appear ungrateful to John Hughes, but I do oppose a lot of what is in those movies.”

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Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!