Wednesday 31 August 2016

Claire O'Mahony: The diverging fortunes of '90s stars Amanda de Cadenet and Shannen Doherty

Published 03/05/2012 | 11:05

Shannen Doherty. Photo: Getty Images
Shannen Doherty. Photo: Getty Images

IT used to be said of the Sixties that if you remembered them, you weren’t there. If you remember the Nineties, you’re probably thinking, "Oh crap. How can that a Nineties revival be happening already?? Truly, I am old..."

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But yes, it is the case and it’s well underway. The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays are back, as are New Kids on the Block, now touring with the Backstreet Boys resulting in the less-than-catchy acronym of NKOTBSB. Fashion-wise, grunge has reared its head and the cool kids are wearing lumberjack shirts, crop tops and high-tops.

Some of the high profile people from the era are back too. In what is a salutary lesson in the vagaries of celebrities, it’s interesting to compare the difference in fortunes of two who are back on the radar once again: Amanda de Cadenet and Shannen Doherty. Both were pretty big in the Nineties and neither of them you’d have pegged as being supremely talented.

Quick recap: Amanda came to fame as presenter on Channel 4’s ‘yoof’ culture programme, ‘The Word’; was usually referred to as a ‘wild child’ in the tabloids, and married the best looking one in Duran Duran, John Taylor – they later divorced – with whom she has a daughter Atlanta.

Shannon finest acting moment came early, with her role in cult indie film ‘Heathers’ but it was her five years as Brenda Walsh in the original ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ that really catapulted her to fame, followed by her role as Prue in ‘Charmed. And then she married Ashley Hamilton, son of orange-tinted crooner, George.

So far it’s a level playing field in terms of achievement, fame and pretty husbands but in the Noughties both their profiles and careers took a downward turn. Amanda moved to the States, and achieved notoriety when she went to the Oscars as Courtney Love’s date, both wearing matching dresses – when anyone hangs out with Courtney, it always seems to be a cry for help. Shannon starred in increasingly low rent TV shows, did a couple of Playboy shoots and was up on a DUI charge.

But here’s where the tale of two Nineties stars diverges. Amanda switched to photography – she shot the Kim Kardashian birthday cover for People magazine - married Nick Valensi from hipster band the Strokes, had twins and proving that life does indeed begin at 40, has a acclaimed new TV show called ‘The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet’, produced by Demi Moore, where she gets Gwyneth Paltrow to talk about her favourite sexual positions.

Shannon, meanwhile, is stuck in reality TV hell, having gone down the Dancing with the Stars route and currently starring in ‘Shannon Says’, following the run up to her wedding to photographer Kurt Iswaerienko. In it, we learn that her finances are out of control and her financial advisors force over to hand over three of her credit cards and only eat out once a week.

Where did it all go wrong for Shannon? Why has Amanda so successfully reinvented herself whereas Shannon in floundering in the D-listed seas? All we can do is refer back to poet Emily Dickenson who said ‘Fame is a fickle food on a shifting plate’? And that Shannon, when examining the recipe for Amanda’s success should note that she has had not one, but two rock star boyfriends – we’re just sayin’…

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