Why Jennie Garth Says 90210 Set "Taught Me to Be Threatened By Other Women"

Decades after her breakout role on Beverly Hills, 90210, Jennifer Garth candidly reflected on how the show impacted her as a person during her formative years.

By Samantha Schnurr May 26, 2021 1:58 PMTags
Watch: E!'s First "Beverly Hills, 90210" Set Visit: E! News Rewind

As Jennie Garth put it, "There are still parts of our experience that weren't great."

The actress was referencing her near-decade-long experience on the pop culture classic, Beverly Hills, 90210. During a new episode of her and former co-star Tori Spelling's 9021OMG podcast, the actress who famously brought Kelly Taylor to life all those years ago reflected on the less glossy elements of being part of the hit show. 

The subject came up after a fan asked the co-hosts why they kept "shading" the boys on the show. As the fan asked, "What did they do to you?"

"These are our recollections, these are our memories, this was our experience," Garth said. "It was probably much different than…the guys' experience or anyone else's experience."

Elaborating further, the 49-year-old actress explained, "So often we fall into the trap of trying to tell a story that everybody's going to digest well, that it's going to be politically correct to say, people are going to still like us even when we say it, but there are still parts of our experience that weren't great and that's ok and its ok for us to talk about it now, too and it's ok for other people to share their experiences."

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Without getting into specifics, Garth described the alleged environment they learned to navigate while on the show and how it impacted her. "It's not necessarily what they did to us, but what we as young people did to ourselves, like our interpretation of what was happening at that time because we were all so young and so...unguided in that environment, that grown up, mature environment, being completely left on our own for days, full days of whatever happened," she recalled. "There's so much that happened that sort of taught us and shaped us as women as young girls, as now as women and not all of it was great."

Garth acknowledged that the legacy of the show affects what they share. "Tori and I do try to tell the truth, but at the same time, not let people in too far to see the sordid parts," she said, "because we want everybody to love the characters and love the show, but we also have our own experiences."

She noted, "It's not about what they did to us."

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Still, Garth addressed the toll the show's environment took on her behavior. "A lot of what happened on that set shaped us in all directions, but I think as a young girl, maybe I was like, blame it on the guys, too," she said. "It brought out a super competitive part of me being in that environment of being judged by because of my looks or how I looked in an outfit. It was just a different day and age and it gave us young girls a lot of mixed messages…If I'm honest, I think it kind of taught me to be threatened by other girls, be threatened by other women. Be more competitive because I wanted our co-stars' approval or attention. It messed with me on a deeper level."

She eventually realized that was not the way. "Not until later in life did I kind of think it wasn't ever about the other girls," she continued, "and why did I ever make the other girls the enemy in my mind?"

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