Girl Power! 90's Fictional Characters Who Shaped Me

I've been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately. I don't know what started it. Perhaps its all the crushed velvet and neon that seems to be coming back in style and then what would have been Kurt Cobain's 45th birthday this week. A 90's music post is forthcoming, but for now, my list of the fictional 90's girls whom I looked up to and aspired to be like.

1.  Clarissa Darling, Clarissa Explains It All. 
Clarissa was all around awesome. I wanted her room, clothes, hair, sweet computer skills and ladder climbing best friend Sam. Remember her pet alligator, Elvis, who lived in a wading pool in her room? Also, looking back on it, I was definitely positively influenced by her confidence and creativity. The actress who played her, Melissa Joan Hart just wrote a piece for Bullet, her take on where Clarissa is now.

2. The Tanner sisters of Full House. 
While I idolized DJ and her awesome hair, I related more to Stephanie in her dorky ways: glasses, allergies, trying to fit in with the cool girls and I wanted my real life little sister to have funny catch phrases like Michelle. I spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to get people to sit in a line and play with each other’s hair like they do in the opening credits.

3. Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles), 10 Things I Hate About You
So, obviously, one of the reasons I thought she was sooooo cool was because Heath Ledger’s character fell for her, but, she definitely had a intellectual bad ass thing going on too. She made being brainy and feminist a sexy thing to do in my 15 year old opinion, although I still haven’t gotten around to reading the Feminine Mystique.

4. The Baby Sitters Club
A big thanks to Ann M. Martin for encouraging girls across America to not only earn money, but start their own businesses. I know I learned a lot of  practical tips about childcare from the 100+ books I read in this long running series. I wanted to be sophisticated and stylish like Stacey, or beautiful and artistic like Claudia but in reality, I was more of a awkward and bookish Mallory.

5. Tie!  
This one is a tie between all of the characters out there that fall into the “girls want to be her, boys want to date her” catagory. Kelly Kapowski (Saved by the Bell)  Topanga Lawerence (Boy Meets World), and Winnie Cooper (The Wonder Years) are all great examples. All smart, sweet, beautiful, assertive young ladies, pined after by male characters on their shows and 13 year old boys everywhere.

6. The Ladies of Clueless
Are you already writing this one off as being totally superficial? As if! Cher is like totally a betty with heart. If you'll recall, the plot of the movies revolves around Cher realizing there is much more to life than clothes an popularity and she starts to help people. Making volunteering, donating clothes to charities and the likes seem totally cool to girls like me. Dionne was always my favorite though, I appreciated her overuse of the word "phat". Did you know the plot is based on Jane Austen's Emma?

What '90's characters most influenced you? I'd love to hear in the comments.


  1. Great list! I agree with Topanga....and I'd probably add Joey from "Dawson's Creek" (can't really explain that one, but the "girl next door" thing was desirable, right?), and Buffy -- call me a nerd, but she was pretty legit.

  2. I love Joey and Buffy too! I didn't include them in the list because I didn't watch either shows until later. My mom frowned upon that whole Pacey sleeping with his teacher in the first season of Dawson's and I wasn't allowed to watch after that! And Buffy was too scary for me. (I'm still a huge wimp and hate scary movies.) Anyway, thanks to Netflix, I'm finally caught up on the important pieces of pop culture I missed back in the day.

  3. Ok Jenny, this is too Good!!

    Oh and one of my all time favorite movie quotes is from Cher! On virginity! "You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet." LOVE HER.

  4. My fourth graders are reading Babysitter Club books all over again! I always tell them how you read all of them in 3rd and 4th grade. Your blog is fabulous!

  5. these were my homeschooled years. fast forward to the next decade where I can again join the conversation, please.

  6. I love this! So many confident, smart, and ambitious ladies! I also love that several of my favorite 90s movies were based on classic literature (Clueless based on Jane Austen's book, Emma, 10 things I hate about you based on Shakespeare's play, The Taming of the Shrew, and, okay a little after the 90s, Bridget Jones's Diary, based on Jane Austen's book, Pride and Prejudice)

    1. Yes! Thanks for pointing out 10 Things I Hate About You being based on Taming of the Shrew, a good point that I left out. We were quite cultured in the 90's!

  7. The house used in 10 Things is at 24th and Junette in Tacoma. We drove Steph by there and explained how we'd talked to the property owner working in his yard who related what a great guy Heath Ledger was and how his daughters were impressed. They had to move out of their house for a lengthy time, but Disney put the house back just like it was previously.

  8. I always loved the movie Ever After! Drew Barrymore was amazing in it, great story line as well.

  9. I just read that post on Bullet that you linked. I loved reading Melissa Joan Heart's take on who Clarissa grew up to be....I was worried it would be a disappointing view...but it was surprisingly good. Sam living in Seattle, Ferg-face in D.C. and her a writer for a rock ma-totally all believable. love it!