By Corey Atad.

Winona Ryder has a lot of wisdom to share.

The “Stranger Things” star is on the new cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and in the issue she talks about the advice she’s given her young co-stars on the show.

“I want the kids to understand, this does not happen,” she says of the show’s popular success. “This is really unusual. And I’m always telling them, ‘The work is the reward!’ Because when I was that age, it was so hard to enjoy the fruits of my labour.”

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Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar
Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar

That’s not the only advice Ryder gives on the show, as her co-star David Harbour notes, referencing her pointing out small historical errors in the ’80s-set series to creators Matt and Ross Duffer.

“She’d tell them, ‘This song actually came out in ’85, and you have it in ’83,’” Harbour says. “She knew all of these minute, tiny details they didn’t even know, and they had to change things in the script based on that.”

Also in the interview, Ryder opens up about being in the public eye, particularly in the wake of her breakup in the ’90s from boyfriend Johnny Depp, who altered his “Winona Forever” tattoo to read “Wino Forever”.

“That was my ‘Girl, Interrupted’ real life,” the actress says, referring to her 1999 drama, co-starring Angelina Jolie.

“I remember, I was playing this character who ends up getting tortured in a Chilean prison [in the 1994 drama ‘The House of the Spirits’],” Ryder recalls, crediting “an incredible therapist” for encouraging her to imagine being gentle to a younger version of herself. “I would look at these fake bruises and cuts on my face [from the shoot], and I would struggle to see myself as this little girl. ‘Would you be treating this girl like you’re treating yourself?’ I remember looking at myself and saying, ‘This is what I’m doing to myself inside.’ Because I just wasn’t taking care of myself.”

Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar
Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar

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She also shares that Michelle Pfeiffer, who co-starred with her in 1993’s “The Age of Innocence”, supported her through that period of struggle.

“I remember Michelle being like, ‘This is going to pass.’ But I couldn’t hear it. I’ve never talked about it,” Ryder says. “There’s this part of me that’s very private. I have such, like, a place in my heart for those days. But for someone younger who grew up with social media, it’s hard to describe.”

Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar
Photo: Dan Martensen for Harper’s Bazaar

Now, though, Ryder is in a happy relationship with fashion designer Scott Mackinlay Hahn.

“We have so much in common,” she says. “We connected on so many levels. But it was amazing that he’s not in this business…. I really did try to keep it quiet.”

Though Ryder reveals Hahn is so outside the film business that he didn’t even recognize her at first.

“He thought I was Milla Jovovich,” she laughs. “He told me I was great in ‘The Fifth Element’.”


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Ellen Bullock