Angela Chase ("My So Called Life") serves one of my style icons. I firmly believe no one else can pull off baby doll dresses (both plaid and velvet), over sized flannels or big boots quite like she can. In my mind she coined the feminine with a bad ass edge statement. From the moment she colored her hair that abrasive shade of red (much to her mother's dismay) she became a new person. Everything she said or did seemed so enormously powerful and tough, yet tenderly vulnerable. When I was younger I simplified my fascination with Angela to assuming it was just her style I like. Now I understand it wasn't the way she tied her flannels around her waist or the bizarre shades of lip gloss she wore. Angela represented so much more than mixing patterns, she served as a symbol for my adolescence.
I felt her struggle -- her fights with her mom, turbulent relationship with Jordan Catalano and the constantly changing social world of high school. When Angela and Sharon have their first fight, the fight that temporarily ends their friendship I channeled the connection into my first pair of Dr. Martens. When Angela primps for hours to go to the club with Rickie and Reyanne (with the new fake IDs) I picked a new color lipstick. And all through her relationship with Jordan Catalano (the awkward conversation at Tino's, the first two kisses, the makeout sessions in the boiler room, him not showing up to meet her parents, holding hands in the hall, the pressure to have sex) I bought more and more plaid shirts. Armed with this hip (totally 90's) swag I felt ready to hit up any Frozen Embryo's shows. She presented angst like I'd never known when I typically watched totally homogenized television. Her struggle and her sadness seemed incredibly real to me. I felt so angry with her mother when she wouldn't let Rickie stay over on Christmas Eve. I wanted to scream at Rayanne when she had to get her stomach pumped. I thought Brian Krakow was totally irritating, but still wanted to be his friend. I felt the humiliation of her mom getting angry with Rickie and Rayanne for sneaking a beer after school (I never thought they'd get caught). Angela's story unfolded painstakingly slowly before my eyes and all I could do was hope it would work out for her. Because that meant it would work out for me too.
The role Angela played in my growing up expands so much further than the clothes on my back. She represented the real high schooler. Her problems were my problems, her friends were mine and her parents said the exact same things mine did. Plus, she opened my eyes to REM (Well everybody hurts/Everybody cries/And everybody hurts sometimes) and the Cranberries (Oh, my life/is changing every day/in every possible way)! Angela chase was more than my style icon, she was me (if I were a teenager in 1994, that is). Now thanks to Shout! Factory, I can watch her all the time. - Melissa Baron