I have watched the movie “What A Girl Wants” starring Amanda Bynes in my grandmother’s bedroom more times than I’d care to recall — sometimes on repeat. In 2010, Bynes took one final acting gig, “Easy A,” before announcing that she would be taking a break from the spotlight. If you were wondering why she suddenly disappeared, she commented on her decision last year: “I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in ‘Easy A’ and I didn’t like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it.”
Granted, the former Nickelodeon star admitted she was on something when watching “Easy A” for the first time. “I was high on marijuana when I saw it,” she said. “It absolutely changed my perception of things.” She started smoking marijuana consistently at the age of 16, around the pinnacle of her stardom. Whatever the reason, shortly after the film’s release, she tweeted, “I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it.”
Bynes was born on April 3, 1986, in Thousand Oaks, California. She is the youngest of three children. Her mother, Lynn, was a dental assistant, while her father, Richard, is now a retired dentist. Seems like a pretty perfect match to me. Bynes’ acting career took off before she hit double digits. She first appeared in a Nestle commercial at the age of 7 before starring in the Nickelodeon show “All That.” She performed so well in these early gigs that her comedic skill and stage presence landed her “The Amanda Show,” a play on “The Carol Burnett Show.”
Unfortunately, the years following “Easy A” were not so good to her. A combination of marijuana use and, ironically, some free time in her typically crazy schedule led Bynes on a downward spiral. She remembers feeling like she “just had no purpose in life.” To go from memorizing lines, attending rehearsals and following a strict routine to having so much free time, the young star simply didn’t know what to do with herself. She just sat at home watching TV and tweeting.
Receiving a DUI, throwing a bong out of her apartment window and reportedly “starting a fire in a neighbor’s driveway” led to her being hospitalized and later receiving involuntary psychiatric treatment. But 2019 is around the corner, and Bynes is apparently revving up to reenter the limelight.
However, just because she managed to stay under the radar doesn’t mean she wasn’t busy. In 2014, Bynes enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, she was kicked out of FIDM for allegedly showing up to class high and paying fellow students to complete several of her homework assignments. She was able to reenroll in FIDM at the end of 2015 “after entering a treatment facility.”
She changed course and pursued a major in product development, graduating that same year. But now the Nickelodeon child star seems genuine about putting the past behind her and acting again. Although the former actress has received multiple offers, Bynes is waiting for the right one to come along.
In June 2017, Bynes sat down with Diana Madison of “The Lowdown” for her first interview in four years. Perhaps more shocking than Bynes’ seemingly unexpected appearance was her platinum blond hair. It was clear that being on camera is something that she has to become comfortable with again. Her laughter was more nervous than anything, as she was probably just hoping to get through the interview without any hiccups, which she did.
As to how she has been keeping herself busy and on the straight and narrow, she discussed fashion school. The actress shared, “I’ve learned how to sew, I make patterns and I want to start a clothing line in the future. Other than that, I hike, go spinning, take spinning classes and I feed the homeless and that’s been really interesting and fun.”
I hate to say it, but I was a little concerned by Bynes’ comment about “feeding the homeless.” I couldn’t help but question if perhaps the reason she decided to share this tidbit was to try and get back in the good graces of Hollywood or the rest of the world. I wish I weren’t this skeptical, but the thought has certainly crossed my mind.
Regardless, Bynes’ friends and family say she is doing well. And it shows. Recently, the recovering starlet was on the cover of Paper Magazine’s third cover in their “Break the Internet” issue. In her interview that followed, she opened up about why she shied away from the cameras for so many years. Looking back to 2010 after seeing herself in “Easy A,” Bynes wholeheartedly regretted her decision to retire at the time. Clearly, it was in the heat of the moment, and marijuana and whatever other drugs were in her system surely didn’t help matters. She said her decision was “really foolish,” that she was “young and stupid” and would change everything that now makes her feel “really ashamed and embarrassed.”
Bynes is taking it slow, day by day. But sure enough, her dream to start a clothing line is in the works. On Oct. 12, she filed the necessary paperwork to trademark her now officially trademarked brand, Vintage By Amanda Bynes. The former actress intends to sell coats, crop tops, dresses, footwear, hats and more.
It has become evident that her foray into fashion will be an instrumental component of Bynes’ comeback. While the child star is getting herself to a good place, she has a life lesson to share with her fans and anyone else who may need to hear it: “Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did.”
While the actress made a series of bad choices, she is still young, with a lot of life left in her. I wish I could tell her that she did not in fact “ruin her life.” But Bynes is slowly but surely getting to be in a good place, so maybe that’s all that really matters.