For many, Molly Ringwald will always be 16, immortalized at that tender age by her endearing roles in the classic ’80s teen flicks Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.
But today, the former teen queen is a happily married 42-year-old mother of three (a seven-year-old and nine-month-old twins), who has enjoyed a charmed life.
In her new book, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick, the actress shares candid stories from her personal life, lessons she’s learned over the years, and doles out advice on everything from dating to dressing.
Part autobiography, part chick lit, part lifestyle guide, the book evolved from what Ringwald says was self-reflection as she neared a milestone in her own life.
“I was turning 40, and it’s sort of an angst-ridden time and I wanted to write a book that I wanted to read,” explains Ringwald over the phone from New York where she and her husband, writer and editor Panio Gianopoulos, live part-time when they’re not in Los Angeles.
“I wanted the book to be really light and inspirational and uplifting and fun and colourful and I just wanted to write a book about being a woman rather than a girl,” she says.
Divided into nine chapters, Pretty tackles the various elements of womanhood.
“There’s a motherhood chapter, a friendship chapter, a love chapter, a fitness chapter,” explains Ringwald.
Despite finding fame at a young age, Ringwald managed to stay away from the drug addiction that plagued so many of her Brat Pack peers. “I just instinctively knew that if I went along that path, it would lead to no good,” she says matter-of-factly. “There was just too much that I wanted to do in life that I thought drugs would just slow me down.”
She left Hollywood in the ’90s and moved to France, where she lived with her first husband, French writer Valery Lameignère, before returning to the U.S. and starring in various Broadway productions, including Cabaret.
Then came her second marriage and motherhood. But that hasn’t slowed down her professional projects. In June, Ringwald returns to the TV as Anne Juergens in the third season of ABC’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She’s also in the midst of finishing up a jazz album and plans to write a second book — she hasn’t yet decided what it’s going to be about.
If anything, Pretty serves to remind us that Molly Ringwald’s life didn’t begin and end in a teen movie.
“In the end, I’d like to be remembered as a good person, as a good friend, as a good mother,” says Ringwald. “There’s the acting, the writing, the singing and all that, but that’s not the most important thing for me.”