Molly Ringwald: Pretty in Print

Former teen queen and first-time author Molly Ringwald marvels at the abundance of gay characters in her life and the absence of gay characters in her movies.



“People always assume that everyone who was in the ‘Brat Pack’ still gets together and has picnics every Sunday — like there’s still this club with a secret handshake,” says Molly Ringwald, star of John Hughes teen classics The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. “But these are people I worked with so long ago, and we have totally separate lives.” Ringwald’s own charmed life as a fashion icon, erudite world traveler, and happily married mother of three has now inspired her candid new lifestyle guide, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick. The flame-haired 42-year-old star of ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which returns June 7 for a third season, shares the facts of life she’s learned from gay men like Harvey Milk, Stephin Merritt, and the godfathers of her children. You dedicate Getting the Pretty Back to your husband, Panio Gianopoulos, and to “all women.” Will gay men also be able to appreciate the book?
Molly Ringwald: I think so. It was definitely written more for women because I was writing a lot about myself and my own personal experience. I am not a gay man, so I don’t know what that experience is like. You read it, so what do you think?

Well, I got some good party-throwing tips, some fun song suggestions for my iPod, and I’ll definitely use your recipes for fondue and bouillabaisse in the future. Your parenting and relationship advice is also fairly universal.
Good! My best friend, who’s also the godfather of my daughter, is a gay man that I’ve been friends with since I was 10 years old, and his husband is my son’s godfather. Other than my husband, they were two of the first people to read the book, and they totally related to it. I think you’re right that a lot of it is universal, so I hope the gay community enjoys it.

Why should people take your advice on anything?
No good reason. [Laughs] No good reason at all. I don’t consider myself an expert in any way, other than the fact that I’m a woman and these are my own experiences. I tried to write with a tone of just sitting down with a girlfriend. Anytime that I wrote about something that did require an expert’s knowledge or opinion, I enlisted a friend to help.

Did you enlist any gay friends?
Definitely. Mike Albo was actually the first person I contacted to do a sidebar for me about undermining friends. He wrote The Underminer, which is a hilarious book, and he’s one of the funniest people alive. And the sidebar about fashion faux pas was written by Todd Thomas, who designed my Oscar dress, which I loved.

Tags: Books