The words “goth” and “celebrity” go together like black lipstick and a smart suit. In other words, it’s an unexpected combination. You wouldn’t think there would be that much crossover between the mainstream glamor of the ultra-famous and the moody cool of the goth aesthetic. It’s not often you see a celeb strut the red carpet in the darkest makeup imaginable and a leather corset. No one’s wearing a cape made out of spider webs or sporting gigantic spiked hair – at least not with enough frequency for it to become a trend.
But if you look back at some celebrities’ earlier days, you’re bound to uncover some edgy, goth-y, punk rock wardrobe choices. Some celebs who went through a major goth phase probably won’t surprise you – Winona Ryder was known for her “unconventional” appearance – while others will definitely come as a shock. Who knew Ivanka Trump had such a rebellious streak in her youth?
These famous people who used to be goth may have outgrown that phase of their lives, but the memories live on forever.
Elizabeth Hurley definitely had a punk phase, as she told Hello! in 2015:
“When I was a teenager, I had pink hair, a nose ring and ripped up clothes. I wasn’t rebelling against anything though, it was just fashion. Plus, I really loved the music and still often have the Clash blasting.”
She also elaborated on her reasoning behind her edgy teenage aesthetic:
“I think what happened is that so many men took an interest, I wanted to make
myself look as ghastly as possible.”
Christina Hendricks is best known for her role on Mad Men, so you probably associate her with that sophisticated ’60s aesthetic. So it may come as a surprise that, in high school, Hendricks was pretty darn goth.
Hendricks went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and was met with some goth-tinged photos from her past.
Taylor Swift has assumed many identities: country gal, sneaker-clad high schooler, pop star, snake queen… But before her music career took off, Swift went emo.
In 2006, Swift had a Myspace page full of pictures that perfectly encapsulated the aesthetic of the era, right down to her very interesting style choices. What would the music world have been like if Swift had leaned into her goth-adjacent tastes?
Thanks to her position in the White House, Ivanka Trump is probably scarier now than any rebellious teenage version of her could ever hope to be. But back in the day, young Trump attempted to shed her privileged upbringing by becoming goth – by listening to Nirvana!
Yes, the ’90s grunge band Nirvana. They are certainly not goth (and definitely not “punk,” as she calls them), but don’t tell Trump. She talks about her “wild” younger days in Ivana Trump’s book Raising Trump:
“One day after school, I dyed my hair blue. Mom wasn’t a fan of this decision. She took one look at me and immediately went out to the nearest drugstore to buy a $10 box of Nice’n Easy.
That night, she forced me to dye my hair back to blond. The color she picked out was actually three shades lighter than my natural color… and I have never looked back!”
Melissa McCarthy’s comedic skills don’t exactly mesh with the stereotypical goth persona. But back in her high school days, McCarthy ventured over to the dark side. She revealed her gothicpast to Kelly Ripa:
“Somewhere around junior year I got really punk rock, gothic and I dropped out of everything, much to my parents thrill!”
Winona Ryder has earned some goth credentials for her film roles, but she was just as moody off-screen – check out her high school haircut.
After Beetlejuice came out, Ryder became inextricably associated with the goth aesthetic, as she told the Daily Beast:
“Beetlejuice was big… It was almost pre-goth, in a way. But we didn’t know that was going to be a big movie at all. And I was in high school when it came out, so I thought I was in this movie and it’s doing things and people are going to be nicer, and they were calling me a ‘witch’ and ‘a weirdo’ and throwing candy corns at my head! It was like I couldn’t win.”
Taylor Momsen isn’t so much going through a goth phase as she was going through a non-goth phase during her time on Gossip Girl. Now, she’s apparently decided to live her live all goth all the time. Who would have thought that, circa 2007, Little Jenny Humphrey would turn into a goth princess?
But the goth signs were there in Season 2 of Gossip Girl when Momsen’s eyeliner became heavier and heavier. Then, Momsen formed the band The Pretty Reckless in 2009. Little J went full goth and has never looked back.
Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood dated Marilyn Manson when she was 18 and he was 36 – what a spooky age difference. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the actress sported a goth-inspired look around this time. The pair dated for a couple of months in 2010 before breaking up.
It’s probably safe to assume that any woman dating Marilyn Manson went through a goth phase by sheer proximity to the spooky looking singer. McGowan began seeing Manson around 1997, and the pair even got engaged in 1998. They broke up in 2000 due to “lifestyle differences” – maybe the goth life got too much for McGowan.
Angelina Jolie gave off some serious Morticia Addams vibes at the 2000 Oscars. She channeled a goth aesthetic as she went up to collect her Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Girl, Interrupted, which she starred in with fellow sometimes-goth Winona Ryder.
Of course, Jolie has always been a little bit dark. Remember when she wore that vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck?
Pop culture knows him as Skrillex, EDM powerhouse, but OG fans know him as Sonny Moore, screamo front-man of From First to Last. During this time, he titled an album after a Heather’s quote, rocked snake bites, and turned down the bass in favor of screaming. Musicians. To be fair, much of Moore’s style today recalls his original emo flavor, but it’s still such a treat to see the man responsible for “Bangarang” rocking bangs.
It would have beggared belief had Kelly Osbourne not gone through a goth phase. Her father is Ozzy Osbourne, a man who has earned himself the nickname “the Prince of Darkness.”
Kelly Osbourne’s many, many goth looks can be seen on the MTV reality television show The Osbournes. It must be great to have your most dramatic phase immortalized forever onscreen.