Mena Suvari & Alicia Silverstone Take on 'American Woman'

Mena Suvari & Alicia Silverstone Take on 'American Woman'

The '90s icons tackle a story set in the '70s.

The '90s icons tackle a story set in the '70s.

Photography: Alana O'Herlihy

Styling: Britt Berger

Text: Alexandra Ilyashov

This interview appears in the pages of V114: Fearless Gigi Hadid Issue. Order your copy at shop.vmagazine.com.

Money, gender, and power define the narrative of American Woman, the juicy, addictive show co-executive produced by and based on the childhood of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Kyle Richards. When Alicia Silverstone first read the script—written by 30 Rock alum John Riggi—she was immediately drawn to her character Bonnie Nolan, a glamorous Beverly Hills housewife who leaves her cheating husband to raise her two young daughters solo. “She’s such a badass; she’s really fiery, yet also extremely vulnerable,” Silverstone says.

Bonnie, based on Richards’s mother, relies on her two best friends: Kathleen, an unmarried thirtysomething played by Mena Suvari, and Diana (Jennifer Bartels) who deals with workplace harassment. “I love that all three women are evolving and nding themselves; they’re not just trying to find boyfriends,” Silverstone says. For Bonnie, it’s about reinvention. “She’s like, ‘I’m gonna open my own bank account!’” Suvari says. “I’ve always had a bank account, never relied on a man, and I was like, ‘Holy shit, I can’t even imagine living like that.’”

The show takes place at a time Silverstone describes as a feminist juncture—after the relatively conservative ‘60s, but before Roe v. Wade. “Some women are like, ‘I can be sexy, I can be whatever I want,’ but not everyone gets that memo yet,” says Silverstone. To that end, Bonnie is a rebrand, or as Silverstone puts it, “an incredibly impulsive person, left with nothing, and has to slowly build up. I think that takes such courage and is so brave, because it’s so easy for all of us to stay stuck.” The show saliently explores pre-#MeToo society—when financial inequality, sexual harassment in the workplace, and reliance on a man were not only commonplace but received as natural. And while times may have changed, Silverstone says that modern-day parallels remain. “I’m sure everyone can relate to the idea that we all get stuck in our lives. Sometimes, it’s not even that bad. It’s just not quite good. It’s sort of hovering, so you don’t think it’s worth ending, exiting, or taking the leap to actually live your dream and live the way you want.”

MENA WEARS TOP LOUIS VUITTON, SKIRT STELLA MCCARTNEY, EARRINGS AND RING BULGARI, ALICIA WEARS TOP STELLA MCCARTNEY, BRA AND PANTS HER OWN, NECKLACES BUGLARI

Credits: MAKEUP LISA AHARON (STARWORKS GROUP), HAIR RUDY MARTINS (THE WALL GROUP), PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT YASMIN JANSEN, RETOUCHING MARIA FIMMANO, LOCATION MADE HOTEL NYC

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V114: FIERCE GIGI / SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION