Who could forget Alicia Silverstone? As ’90s kids surely remember, Silverstone was the it girl in the middle of the decade, appearing in heavy rotation on MTV, breaking out in the iconic film Clueless, and seemingly gracing the cover of every magazine. The blonde-haired actress took the world by storm, inspiring legions of fans to don yellow plaid outfits and knee-high socks while proclaiming the motto of a generation: As if!
Then, just as quickly as Silverstone catapulted into mega celebrity, she disappeared from the spotlight. Overwhelmed by the glitter and glitz of Hollywood — as well as the cruelty of the paparazzi — Silverstone retreated from the public eye in favor of a simpler life. You really can’t blame her, especially given how young she was when she became famous.
But that doesn’t mean that Silverstone stopped acting altogether or succumbed to the pressures of sudden fame. Curious to know what ever happened to her? Read on to find out!
Clueless made Alicia Silverstone a household name
While Alicia Silverstone had already starred in both a film and several music videos in the early ’90s, it was her work in the 1995 surprise hit Clueless that made her a bona fide star. Seemingly overnight, Silverstone went from up-and-coming actress to Hollywood’s number one gal, which was super intense, of course. "I didn’t expect any of the reaction that we got," the actress revealed in an interview with Vogue. "It was a lot, and I think if anything it all pushed me away from doing this job for a while and got me so much more into my activism."
Because of the scrutiny Silverstone found herself under in the wake of Clueless, she decided to take a moment to pause and breathe. "I eventually found my love of acting again," she continued. "But at the time I didn’t know anything about what I was stepping into."
Decades later, Silverstone is incredibly proud of the film and appreciates it for all of its genius. She’s also pleased as punch that people still love and appreciate it now just as much as they did then.
Alicia Silverstone starred in a Batman film
On the heels of breaking out in Clueless, Alicia Silverstone was on top of the world. She could pretty much do whatever she wanted, so it’s no surprise that she accepted a role in a superhero movie, 1997’s Batman & Robin. Because isn’t that what all A-list actors do once they’ve become Hollywood royalty?
But as Silverstone tells it, working on that film wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. For one, she was body-shamed by the paparazzi, which is just mind-boggling. "It came at a time in my life when people were being very unkind," Silverstone confessed in an interview with Cinema Blend. "So I think it was just not the best experience, but it wasn’t terrible."
That experience helped Silverstone figure out what she really wanted to do in her career, though it very well could have broken her spirit. "Luckily, I was fine," she continued. "But it’s not up there with my David Mamet or Kenneth Branagh!" Fair point, Alicia!
Alicia Silverstone stepped back a bit after becoming famous
After working on Batman & Robin and putting up with nicknames like "Fatgirl" — a cruel play on her character in the film, Batgirl — Alicia Silverstone decided she’d had enough. To that end, she proceeded to eschew the industry and go her own way. "My response was, ‘Hell no.’ I had no interest in being famous or maintaining any kind of fame," she recalled in a chat with Vanity Fair. "If you told me that acting meant I was going to be called fat and have to do things a certain way, then I was like, ‘F off.’" Good for you, Alicia!
That wasn’t the only thing that made Silverstone disillusioned with all of it. "I also gave a lot of my deciding power away to my team because it was all so complicated and hard," she continued.
While Silverstone did appear in some films after her meteoric rise, she said no to plenty of offers for the sake of her own sanity — which made it seem like she had all but disappeared.
Alicia Silverstone returned to theater and fell in love with acting all over again
One area in which Alicia Silverstone has always thrived is the theater. A self-professed drama nerd from a very young age, Silverstone returned to this medium after all but abandoning Hollywood. "I’ve had such amazing opportunities to do stage work," she explained to The Guardian. "That’s why I do so much theatre, because I haven’t had an opportunity to do film roles as interesting." That included what she called a "killer role" in a David Mamet play in 2007, for which she received rave reviews (via Reuters).
The one film role that she does stand by is, of course, Cher from Clueless. "If you look at what makes that movie so good, it’s because of the complexity of the character, Cher," she continued. "If you were watching a girl just run around and bounce around, you wouldn’t like the movie so much."
Silverstone also got to work with Kenneth Branaugh in the 2000 film Love’s Labour’s Lost, which is, of course, based on a Shakespeare comedy of the same name.
Alicia Silverstone made one of her dreams come true
In 2011, Alicia Silverstone kicked a major item off of her bucket list. After eight years of planning, scheming, and strategizing, she published a vegan cookbook entitled The Kind Diet. Silverstone was super excited to finally see it come to fruition. "It was just a dream that I had," she told PETA. "And I just never actually thought that I could get it together to do it." That’s when someone nudged her to finally make it happen, and voilà! She did it. When there’s a deadline involved, there’s no shirking your responsibilities, which is what helped her manifest her vision.
Silverstone has continued to adhere to a vegan lifestyle, and believes that it can not only heal people, but also save the planet. "My inspiration for it is I really just know deep, deep in my heart, I have absolutely no doubt that when you eat this way, you will feel better than you’ve ever felt in your life," she added. Silverstone also did some pretty racy ads for PETA to promote veganism, showing just how committed she is to the cause.
Alicia Silverstone played a vampire in this film
In 2012, Alicia Silverstone was presented with a super fun opportunity. Amy Heckling, who both wrote and directed Clueless, had written a new screenplay called Vamps – and she wanted Silverstone to act in the movie alongside Krysten Ritter. Only this time instead of playing a shopaholic with a propensity for matchmaking, Silverstone would be playing, you guessed it: a vampire.
"I didn’t long to be a vampire, but I really should have," she shared in an interview with Out. "I guess I didn’t have enough of an imagination." But once she was asked to be in the film, she was stoked at the prospect of such a fun, complex, and interesting role.
Given that Heckling had done the writing, Silverstone knew that she wouldn’t be playing a fluffy character with no depth. "My character is up against so much," she continued. "It was just a very rich role for me to play." Silverstone added that the film was a perfect vehicle for her to transition out of theater and back onto the silver screen.
Alicia Silverstone took on this "wacky" role
Four years after playing a vampire for the first time, Alicia Silverstone accepted a role in the 2014 William Robert Carey-helmed drama Angels in Stardust. The indie film came together extremely quickly, as they only had about a week to get the cast and crew in order. But once Silverstone saw the script, she was in. "First, I was drawn to the fact that it’s a coming-of-age story," she explained in a chat with Collider. "I can’t help but be a sucker for those."
Silverstone was also thrilled that her role wasn’t boring or basic in any way. Rather, it gave her the opportunity to try something new. "Tammy is just this complex character that’s so different than anything I had ever done," she continued. "The main reason I did it was to be able to be this wacky Tammy."
That same year, Silverstone’s second book, The Kind Mama, was also published. This took the very busy Silverstone on a book tour around the country.
Alicia Silverstone starred in Diary of a Wimpy Kid
While Alicia Silverstone hadn’t done a ton of comedy work when she signed on for Clueless, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love acting in films of the genre. So when she was offered a role in the 2017 family film Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Hall, she was excited to flex those comedic muscles. "I do a lot of theater, and so there’s a part of me that just really enjoys the sort of silly Lucille Ball kind of acting of it all," she told The Movie Times. "I can do that here; there’s a lot of moments to really be ridiculous — and it’s so fun!"
Silverstone wasn’t just thrilled to be acting in a funny film for that reason alone. It sounds like being set was a riot in and of itself, as some of her co-stars had the actress practically in stitches, "It’s really funny," she continued. "I have a hard time not laughing!"
Alicia Silverstone had a cameo in this unusual horror film
Perhaps the most unexpected part that Alicia Silverstone has taken on in her career was the role of Martin’s Mother in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The offbeat and strange psychological thriller debuted in 2017 and, in the middle of it, Silverstone pops up for just two scenes. So just how did she end up on set? "My agent called and said, ‘You need to go on this thing. It’s worth it. You should start preparing immediately,’" she recalled in an interview with Vulture.
The film was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who was very impressed with Silverstone’s audition. And as Silverstone tells it, working with him was a pretty magical experience. "He’s such an inspired artist," she continued. "I was delighting in every word he said on set." She added that everyone else involved in the project felt the same way. She even found that folks on other film sets were jealous when they learned she’d worked with him.
In American Woman, Alicia Silverstone found empowerment
A year after appearing in both a comedy movie and a horror film, Alicia Silverstone was cast in a period drama, showing just how flexible her acting muscles are. She played the role of Bonnie in American Woman, which was set in the ’70s.
The movie gave Silverstone the opportunity to draw on her own childhood for inspiration. "My mom was a flight attendant for Pan Am and so beautiful — very feminine, girly, glamorous type of woman," she revealed to Vanity Fair. "So it was fun to feel like her."
But unlike Silverstone’s mother, Bonnie does something wild: She dumps her husband and sets her house on fire. "She’s reckless," Silverstone continued. "She’s not thinking, like, ‘I don’t have any skills. I don’t know how to survive. I have no money. This is 1975. I can’t even get a loan.’ She’s just like, ‘Rah!’ But it’s such a risk." Silverstone said she relates to that character, as can all women who need to liberate themselves and pave their own way.
Alicia Silverstone briefly reprised her role as Cher on Lip Synch Battle
If you’ve ever seen the Iggy Azalea video for "Fancy," you know that it’s a straight-up tribute to the movie Clueless. In it, the Australian rapper is dressed in an outfit strikingly similar to Cher’s yellow plaid ensemble and on a set that looks just like the character’s debate classroom. The video goes on to replicate other scenes, and does a surprisingly good job of it too.
As such, it was a pretty exciting surprise when Alicia Silverstone made an appearance on an episode of Lip Synch Battle, dressed as Cher, carrying shopping bags, and lip-synching the words for "Fancy." However, it wasn’t a total reprisal of Cher, as Silverstone thought of it differently. "I wasn’t doing Cher, I was Iggy Azalea doing me," she told The New York Times. "It was sort of meta."
As for whether fans can expect a reboot of Clueless in the future? "I don’t think Amy Heckerling’s down for that," she shared in a chat with Entertainment Tonight. "It’s not in my hands."
Alicia Silverstone took on a different kind of "mother role" in this movie
Alicia Silverstone returned to the set of a horror film in 2019 and, this time, not just for a cameo. She played a disturbed mother named Laura Hall in The Lodge, which was set in a snowy, remote village. And while this was the umpteenth time Silverstone had been cast as a mother, she wasn’t salty about it at all. "I don’t think of them as mother roles," she explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "I think of them as women who happen to be mothers who are dealing with whatever struggles they’e dealing with."
Part of the reason it’s possible for Silverstone to have that approach is that the archetypal Hollywood mother role has changed drastically over the years. "Long ago we used to think of the mom roles where she just comes in and she’s in the background … and that’s all she’s doing, just making food or doing laundry," she continued. Not that those roles don’t have merit, of course, but Silverstone appreciates playing multifaceted characters.
Alicia Silverstone sank her teeth into her role in Bad Therapy
Alicia Silverstone’s big role after The Lodge was, you guessed it, as a mother. This time around it was for the 2020 dramatic romcom Bad Therapy, in which a fairly normal family goes in for therapy — and emerges from it coming apart at the seems.
Silverstone was stoked to play Susan Howard in the film and she totally sank her teeth into the character. "I just love that my character is a really normal person and she just loses her mind," she revealed in a chat with Coming Soon. "I think that it’s really funny, and really exciting and interesting to see a woman losing it." Given that she pulls a knife on her husband, Susan really does lose it!
How exactly did the character go from pretty well-adjusted to insanely paranoid? "She starts to believe that her husband is potentially cheating on her, and also looking at her daughter wrong," Silverstone continued. What a wild ride that must have been!
Yes, that’s Alicia Silverstone in The Baby-Sitters Club
It would seem that the long-awaited Alicia-ssance finally kicked into high gear in 2020. After starring consistently in a variety of films and shows over the last decade, Alicia Silverstone landed a role in the Netflix teen series The Baby-Sitters Club. Based on the beloved series of books, the reboot made Silverstone feel warm and fuzzy inside. "I think what I love about the show is that these kids are all growing and learning," she told Good Housekeeping. "And so are the parents and everybody. We all are, right?"
Silverstone was struck by just how modern the show is, which is a far cry from her junior high experience. "It’s okay for these girls to be feisty, strong beings, to have purpose and ideas," she continued. "I mean, sometimes they have a crush on a boy, I’m sure, but that’s not the focus at all." Instead, the focus is on the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the young characters, which Silverstone says all parents — including herself — can feel good about.