And I know, that doesn’t sound particularly positive. 

As a kid, the 1998 of The Parent Trap, starring Lindsay Lohan, was my absolute favourite movie. It didn’t help that I was obsessed with twins at the time (my favourite show was Two of a Kind, starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen), but when I saw The Parent Trap on weekend daytime television for the first time, I was hooked. Hallie and Annie were my favourite people to exist, full stop. I went to sleep wishing I was Hallie (our names are very similar, although in retrospect I have much more in common with Annie. I mean, I am British after all). I would dream of going to Camp Walden and seeing her there – my spitting image. I was never sure what we’d be doing when I met her (I’ve never been to camp and I don’t know how to fence) but when I saw her, that was that. It was a life changing moment, played out in my head every night.

After being so initially obsessed with the twins, you can imagine my surprise upon learning that my dream world companion was actually just one eleven year old girl – a girl named Lindsay Lohan. Everyone else was shocked too: but whilst they were shocked at the young Linday’s talent, I was just surprised that my ginger companions were one, and not two. From that day forward, nine-year-old me decided I would love Lindsay Lohan until the day I died. 

You’re probably not surprised when I tell you that this didn’t last for very long. After watching the Lohan 2003 remake of Freaky Friday, I remember declaring to my mother and my best friend at the time that 

“I LOVE Lindsay Lohan”.

The look on their faces was, well, it was something else. My mother winced, whilst my best friend uttered in a weary voice

“isn’t she… in jail?”

My mother then told us about her ‘drink-driving’, and left it contently at that. 

I still continued to watch and enjoy Lindsay Lohan films – mainly rewatches of The Parent Trap and Mean Girls – but it never left the same, knowing the person that Lindsay had become. I slowly grew away from her. I remember seeing an episode of her MTV show ‘Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club’ whilst babysitting, a show about a beach club that she opened in Mykonos. It felt like seeing an old best friend, and being surprised at how much they’d changed. 

It wasn’t until recently when I learnt the extent of Lindsay’s fall. When I saw tales of multiple rehab trips, more court appearances than I could count, and multiple run ins with the media, I learnt that Linday’s case was a lot more extreme than just one drink-driving incident. As far as I see it, Lindsay is a victim – one of childhood stardom and the press. Scrutiny at such a young age, following claims of being a ‘diva’ (whatever that really means), quarrels with Hillary Duff, and excessive weight fluctuation pushed Lindsay unnecessarily further and further down, until she was beyond help. Lindsay was abused and exploited by the tabloids, used for their gain, and as a result she lost her career, her family, her reputation and her livelihood. Sure, Lindsay definitely didn’t do everything right, but to me she is a symptom and a symbol of a much larger issue, revolving around our treatment of women, girls, and queer people in the media. 

This is why Lindsay Lohan was, and will forever be, my childhood hero.

Holly is a writer currently based in the UK. When she’s not writing or running her own lit journal, you can find her watching too many films, playing Bach, and thinking about love, life, and the way the light hit that one very specific bit of water. You can find her @hollyzijderveld on Instagram and Twitter.

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