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Winona Ryder Admits Being a Pop Culture Icon Again Is ‘So Overwhelming’

You couldn’t swing a stick in the ’80s or ’90s without hitting an iconic movie starring Winona Ryder. Lucas, Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, Mermaids, Reality Bites, Little Women… the list goes on. Ryder faded into obscurity after a sticky-fingered scandal sidelined her in the 2000s. Now, however, thanks to the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, the actress is having another pop culture moment — and in a revealing new interview, she admits she isn’t exactly sure how to handle her reclaimed fame.

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Everyone loves a good comeback story, and Ryder’s even has a name: her fans have dubbed it the “Winonaissance.” And while Ryder is grateful for Stranger Things resuscitating her career, she doesn’t hide the fact that fame is a double-edged sword for her.

“It’s so overwhelming,” she told Marie Claire. “I don’t know what it’s like for really famous people. I keep hearing that people are dressing up like me [as her character, Joyce]. I’m like, ‘What?'”

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Throughout her career, Ryder has eschewed the typical hoopla that comes with celebrity. So, when her career quieted down, she turned her attention to other interests, she told the magazine.

“I’m not in any way comparing myself to Daniel Day-Lewis [who recently retired from acting], but you do become interesting in other things,” she said, referring to pursuits such as sitting in on constitutional law lectures at Berkeley College and sleeping in a redwood tree with environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill.

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“I’m grateful that I got to start at the time I did. As much as I love it, I don’t know if I would even have become an actor [if I was starting out now]. I wouldn’t know how to [handle it]. I do worry about the massive exposure at that age,” she said with a nod to Stranger Things‘ child stars.

Still, Ryder acknowledges that experiencing two pop culture moments in one lifetime isn’t the worst problem to have. “There are women who are facing much harder things all over the globe.”

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