6 Fictional Characters Who Shaped My Childhood Beauty Ideals

There are no Disney princesses on this list.
Publish date:
November 2, 2015
Nicole Kidman, movies, TV, jennifer aniston, Kate Winslet, Meg Ryan

As a kid, I spent most of my time wishing I was grown-up. I had big plans for my adulthood and I couldn't wait to get there.

Now that I am a grownup, I regret it. I thought adulthood would be a never-ending escape of glamour, champagne, and romance, but mostly it's just paying bills, swiping left, and perusing cancer symptoms on WebMD.

I probably wanted to grow up so badly because I mostly watched "grown-up" films. (NOT "adult" films. My parents were liberal, but not freaks.) I watched my fair share of kids' movies (holla at We're Back), but mostly, I just watched whatever my mom was watching.

Watching movies full of grown, adult ladies gave me some ideas about what I would look like by the time I, too, was a grown, adult lady. While none of my #goals entirely panned out, here are a few of the fictional ladies who shaped my childhood beauty ideals.

Rose DeWitt-Bukater Dawson Calvert in Titanic (1997)

Looking back, it was questionable for my mother to take me to see Titanic at the tender age of SEVEN but, oh boy, I am glad she did. Like every other girl-who-came-of-age in the '90s, Jack Dawson is still my number-one crush, but my main takeaway from this film was Rose. Rose was and is the ultimate capital-W Woman to me.

I loved her long, curly, red hair, often worn either half-down or in a loose, romantic up-do with her face framed by soft, ringlet bangs. Her sparkling gowns, her pointy-toed, satin, shiny heels, her full lips, her restless and wild eyes—ah, she's everything! I still watch Titanic more often than any well-adjusted adult should, and I'm always taken aback by Rose's radiant beauty and natural sex appeal.

Rachel Green on Friends (1994-2004)

Besides inspiring one of the most imitated haircuts of all time, Rachel Green was also the first time I saw someone with my name in a TV show or movie. As a budding egomaniac even at a young age, I was immediately taken.

I loved her bouncy hair, her denim vests, her toned arms, and her simple but sexy makeup. I loved her various failed romances, her devotion to her girlfriends. Rachel was the Rachel I hoped I'd one day be.

Gillian Owens in Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic contains so many of my favorite things in one film: sisters, revenge, witches, hot Eastern Europeans, Stockard Channing. It was Nicole Kidman's look as Gilly in this film that enraptured me, though. Her fiery red hair and silky, straight bangs were enough to woo me, but it was when she wore her hair in braided pigtails that I was really sold.

I loved the contrast of her smoky eyes and vixen-esque wardrobe with such a low-key home look. Her hair was long, soft, and the perfect shade of warm red. As a brunette with a redheaded sister, my envy of redheads was already in me, and this movie only fanned those flames.

Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail (1998)

Is anyone immune to the charm of You've Got Mail? It's truly one of the most perfect romantic comedies ever made. You would expect nothing less from the likes of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks though, backed by the powerhouse that was Nora Ephron. (Miss you all the time, Nora.)

Meg Ryan ruled many a movie screen throughout the '90s, but this was the film that stole my wistful, romantic, book-loving little heart. Kathleen Kelly had blonde hair, blue eyes, the perfect, flippy pixie and an enviable sweater collection. I dreamed of one day owning a children's bookstore of my own. It could still happen!

Daphne Moon and Roz Doyle on Frasier (1993-2004)

As a kid, I'm positive most of the jokes on Frasier went over my tiny head. I totally missed the point that we were all lovingly mocking Frasier and his brother, Niles. I thought it was just a show about how great being rich and smart would be.

One thing I didn't get wrong, though, was that Daphne and Roz were total babes. British Daphne was a total stunner in miniskirts and bangs. She was kind, funny, and loved dogs.

Roz, Frasier's sassy producer—I loved her voluminous hair and perfectly arched brows. She was career-driven and always ready with a witty one-liner to keep Frasier and Niles in check.

Together, Daphne and Roz were everything I wanted to be. Together, they could probably run the world.

  • Which TV, film, or book characters did you hope you would be/look like when you grew up?
  • Are you more of a Daphne or a Roz?