Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan: “What my life really looked like in 2009”

Posted by for People

In October 2009, the first issue of Stylist was published and magazine history was made. Now, 10 years later, we look back at what Rose McGowan was talking about in 2009 – and what she wishes she had paid more attention to.    

A lot can happen in ten years. For many of us, a decade is bound to be transformative in some way or another. But to say the past ten years were simply transformative for Rose McGowan? That would be a massive understatement. 

Because the last decade has been nothing short of revolutionary for McGowan. Even on the surface, the actor and activist has completely transformed herself, shaving her head and exchanging her ultra-feminine look for a modern, darker twist.

Look underneath, and the last ten years have marked an even more significant change in McGowan. In 2017, she became one of the first individuals to come forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the film mogul who has since been the subject of allegations by more than 80 women. After she was named in the landmark New York Times article which detailed the allegations against Weinstein, she publicly accused Weinstein of rape.

Now, as Weinstein faces trial, McGowan has come to be known as one of the faces of the #MeToo movement, speaking out in solidarity of sexual assault survivors and urging us to be more brave in the fight for women’s rights. The actor, who says she was blacklisted by Hollywood after her allegations against Weinstein, now uses her celebrity status to support victims and raise awareness of the power structures at play in the world.

So this week, as Stylist turns 10, we sat down with McGowan to reflect on her world ten years ago in 2009, and everything that has changed since. 

10 years ago

I was about to…

I was about to fall into a really big depression about how much I disliked Hollywood, and how I needed to get out but didn’t know how. It lasted for about two years. 

I was reading…

That’s the year I first read the autobiography of Malcolm X. It’s very inspirational – somebody who has been misunderstood and mischaracterised, and was really strong despite it all. I’ve been back to it since. It’s a lot of – it’s just being able to withstand people not liking you, or doing things for the greater good which upset a lot of people.

Rose McGowan in 2009
Rose McGowan in 2009

I was listening to…

Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys. I remember driving around in my car with the top down listening to that.

I was wearing…

Good lord, I was probably wearing high heels. Probably like Dolce & Gabbana or something – something that I would never wear now. Now I refuse to wear anything but tennis shoes, and I have shaved my head and pretty much look like the opposite of what I used to look like. I was also trying to grow my eyebrows back, but it didn’t work.

I was watching…

I really liked that movie Up, the animated movie with the old man, and his wife dies? I cried so much at that film. I think it’s the idea of finding home in another person which makes it stick out for me. I think that’s lovely. It’s like when you see a really old couple holding hands and still looking in love, it makes you feel good, and you wish for that for yourself. 

I was talking about…

What was going on in 2009? It was before we heard the words “fake news”, so the world has changed considerably since then. We were probably talking about stuff that we thought was real but turned out to be fake.

I was obsessed with…

I was obsessed with my iPhone – my iPhone 3G or 3S or whatever it was. It was third gen and it was curved and I loved that one. I also know that I was definitely using eBay, for the vintage clothes: back then, I was going through a period of loving 1950s gowns. Now I have ten evening dresses from the 1950s which I don’t know what to do with, but I’ll figure it out.

Rose McGowan in 2019
Rose McGowan in 2019

I wish I’d paid more attention to…

I wish I had owned my power more, and I wish I wasn’t scared of my own strength. For a long time I knew I was a very strong person and I was almost kind of shy and scared of it, and then finally I just had to own it. I figured it’s a much better way to be.

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Rose is headlining the Festival of Marketing at Tobacco Dock, here in London. 10 & 11 October (

Images: Provided/Getty

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

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