Alicia Silverstone was the 'It' actor of the '90s. One role killed her career.

In 1995, Clueless catapulted Alicia Silverstone to global stardom.

The coming-of-age teen comedy, which was released 28 years ago, was quick to develop a cult following – and even decades later, it continues to have a lasting legacy.

But for Alicia Silverstone, fame and cult status weren't exactly desired. In fact, it was never what the then-18-year-old intended.

Need a nostalgia hit? Watch the trailer for cult classic Clueless below. Post continues after video.

"I was so overwhelmed by being famous because I was such a young girl and it was never really my intention," she told The Guardian in 2020.

In the years that followed the release of Clueless, the young actress dealt with the many ups and downs that come with growing up in the spotlight.

She told The Hollywood Reporter she had no idea "how to manage" the fame and success.

"When Clueless came out, it really shifted. I had been the girl from Crush, then I was the Aerosmith chick, and then, after that, I was Cher," she said. "It was very complicated and I don't think I knew how to manage it.


"I didn’t have the foundation, the good tools to deal with it, I wasn’t prepared for it in any way, shape, or form. I really had no idea what was happening, and it didn't feel comfortable."

For the first time in her life, the teenager faced criticism and objectification of her body on a global scale.

Amid the release of Clueless in 1995, Silverstone was interviewed for a Rolling Stone profile. Within the profile's opening lines, she was described as the "kittenish 18-year-old movie star whom lots of men want to sleep with".

But it didn't stop there.

In 1997, the girl who was once best known for her appearances in Aerosmith's music videos landed her biggest role yet – Batgirl in Batman & Robin alongside George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell.

But unlike Clueless, Batman & Robin didn't bring any positive attention.

Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in Batman & Robin. Image: IMDB.


The movie, which has long been considered by fans as the "worst Batman movie ever made", won a handful of Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Supporting Actress.

It wasn't just the film itself that faced criticism. Following the movie's release, Silverstone became the target of body shaming, and recalled the attention being "extreme", telling The Guardian in 2020"I think I just got really turned off by it. That definitely wasn't my favourite filmmaking experience."

At its worst point, the tabloids began referring to Silverstone as 'Fatgirl'. Paparazzi even chanted the name as they chased her down in the streets.

"They would make fun of my body when I was younger," the actress said. "It was hurtful but I knew they were wrong. I wasn't confused. I knew it was not right to make fun of someone's body shape, that doesn't seem like the right things to be doing to a human," she added.

"There were working circumstances that were less than favourable in terms of how things went down. And no, I didn't say 'f**k you' and come out like a warrior, but I would just walk away and go, okay I know what that is and I'm done, I'm not going near that again."


Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2018, Silverstone said that the ridicule she faced was a "real turnoff".

"When I was having my crazy moments post-Clueless, I was being called ‘Fat Girl,'" she said.

"It didn’t make me think, 'Oh yes, I’m going to try really hard to be [what you think I should be].' My response was, 'Hell no.' I had no interest in being famous or maintaining any kind of fame. 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.'"

Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. Image: IMDB.


After filming Batman & Robin, Silverstone admitted that she "stopped loving acting for a very long time" – and for the majority of her 20s, Silverstone became so disillusioned with the entertainment industry that she gave her deciding power for roles to her team because "it was all so complicated and hard".

Speaking to The Guardian in 2015, she shared how her life goals pivoted in the years following Batman & Robin.

"I was so overwhelmed," Silverstone said of her film career. "I was just a theatre kid. I never wanted to be in movies or TV. There's no support or schooling on what do you do when you suddenly find yourself famous as a young woman. It was just too much for me," she added.

"So I decided I would use this to spotlight something that is very meaningful to me. I went on a quest to change the world, to make things better – for children, for the earth, for animals. I wasn’t paying attention to my career, I was paying attention to something else.

"One day I went: 'Wait, I want to act, too, what’s going on?' There’s a lot more to it that obviously is personal and private. But that’s where I’m at. I can happily have a [now ex] husband and a child and a life, and I get to contribute in a really meaningful way to the world and I also get to be an actress. And that's a wonderful thing to be."


As she explained in her 2020 Guardian interview, "My body was just like, this is what I'm meant to do, I love it so much, I need to find a way to do both, to be able to be an actress and be an activist at the same time, so that's what I did.

After turning 30, the actor took on a new agent, who told her to only say yes to a role or project if she absolutely loved it. And now, at 47, Silverstone is having her second act. She is acting on screen and stage again, while also devoting a large chunk of her time to parenting and activism.

In her latest role, Silverstone is brilliant starring opposite Benicio Del Toro for the Netflix picture Reptile, which has only just been released. The pair have worked together before, in the Silverstone-produced film Excess Baggage in 1997.

It comes after she starred in Jennifer Reeder's meta-horror film Perpetrator. 

Alicia Silverstone in Perpetrator. Image: WTFILMS. 


As for the negative feelings she once had for her career, Silverstone has managed to let go and channel her love for acting all over again. 

"In terms of my work, I'm having nothing but fun now," she told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. "I had a ball in Amsterdam, making a film with these amazing interesting filmmakers. I'm really happy with my life. Just seeing Benicio Del Toro again on the set of Reptiles – we haven't worked together for 27 years. I thought, it’s been an incredible journey."

She continued, "It isn’t easy, being an activist, a mother [to son, 12-year-old Bear] and an actress all at the same time. But I'm doing my best."

This article was originally published on April 4, 2020 and has since been updated with new information. 

Feature Image: Getty/IMDB.

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